Dual vocational education and training (VET) plays a major role in Austria. To maintain the attractiveness of this education pathway both for companies and for young people, training contents need to keep pace with the requirements of the economy. This demands that the training ordinances and curricula of part-time vocational schools are revised regularly. The 2017 apprenticeship occupation package (Lehrberufspaket), comprises eight modernised apprenticeships, focusing also on setting up a new framework for digitisation.
Increasing digitisation of the economy requires updating the digital training part of these eight dual VET programmes. The occupation retail trade services, for example, was extended with the specialisation digital sales. The trend towards Industry 4.0 is also reflected in newly regulated apprenticeships such as tyre and vulcanisation technology and prefabricated housing construction, reflecting the increased use of diagnostic computers or digitally controlled production facilities for construction elements. The apprenticeship occupation solar insulation technician has been modernised because automation systems are increasingly used in this field and digital skills have also been integrated into other apprenticeships: bookbinder, paver and heating, refrigeration, noise and fire protection technology.
Updating these VET programmes is only a small part of the total revision. Since 2010 more than 50 apprenticeship occupations (this is one quarter of all dual VET programmes) have either been adapted in terms of content or newly introduced. By 2020 it is planned that another 50 apprenticeship occupations – from glass process engineering to sports equipment technology – will be adapted or newly introduced to make the apprentices, and consequently the skilled workforce of tomorrow, matched to digitisation.