With the agreement of the Federal Council, the Federal Parliament has accepted the draft law for modernising and strengthening the Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz BBiG). It will enter into force on 1 January 2020 and aims to align dual VET in Germany with the requirements of the future.
The now accepted amendments of the Vocational Training Act affect five areas:
- Introducing a minimum training wage for apprentices
Trainees starting their training in 2020 will receive a minimum wage of EUR 515 per month. This will increase by 18% in the second year of training and by 35% (based on the first year) in the third year. For training courses starting in 2021, the minimum wage will be EUR 550 in the first year of training, for training courses starting in 2022 it will be EUR 585, and for training courses beginning in 2023 the minimum wage will be EUR 620. In subsequent years, the minimum training remuneration will be adjusted annually to the average development of all training allowances.
This regulation does not apply to trainees in companies with collective bargaining agreements, where the wages are part of the social partner agreements.
- Underlining equivalence to academic qualifications
New English terms for vocational qualifications for the three levels of tertiary vocational education are introduced to underline the equivalence to academic qualifications and to improve international visibility and recognition. The new terms are:
- ‘Certified professional specialist’ (EQF level 5);
- ‘Bachelor professional’ (EQF level 6); and
- ‘Master professional’ (EQF level 7).
Existing and recognised professional terms such as ‘Meister’ will not be replaced, but supplemented.
- Expanding part-time vocational training to new target groups
In future, it will be possible to extend the duration of part-time training in consultation with the training company. This possibility will also allow disadvantaged groups, such as people with learning disabilities, handicaps or people who need to work to earn money alongside the training.
- Facilitating recognition of prior VET learning
The new law makes it easier for VET graduates to get prior learning recognised and the duration of a subsequent apprenticeship programme reduced. Recognition of prior assessments and examinations will be improved. The objective is to avoid duplication of learning and administrative work.
- Further reduction of administrative burden
There are further revisions concerning examinations and simplifying international mobility, which means that a learning phase abroad requires an agreed plan only when its duration exceeds eight weeks (previously four weeks).
Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung: Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Modernisierung und Stärkung der beruflichen Bildung [Draft of the federal government: Draft law to modernise and strengthen vocational education and training]
BMBF: BBiG-Novelle: Das sind die wichtigsten Änderungen [BBiG amendment: These are the most important changes]