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Inter-company vocational training centres

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Inter-company vocational training centres are the learning venue for centralised complementary vocational education and training and qualification in the field of advanced training and continuing education. They significantly contribute to ensuring the ability of SMEs to provide vocational education and training and thereby help to safeguard the skilled labour supply.

The inter-company vocational training centres have emerged as the venue for providing complementary centralised vocational education and training (Article 5 Section 2 No. 6 BBiG – German Vocational Training Act). In fulfilment of this role, they are responsible for the centralised instruction of apprentices in the skilled trades, amongst other responsibilities. Comparable courses are offered also in other fields, for example, in industry and agriculture.

The increasing specialisation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) made it necessary to provide additional programmes at educational centres, which allow for the complete coverage of all elements of vocational education and training. This helps to ensure the ability of SMEs to provide vocational education and training and thereby makes an important contribution to safeguarding the skilled labour supply. Inter-company vocational training centres have emerged as an important pillar in the dual vocational education and training system by complementing the work-based part of the dual system vocational education and training provision.

However, inter-company vocational training centres have by now further developed into multifunctional centres of education. For instance, they are increasingly active in the field of advanced training and continuing education, including master craftsman programmes. They moreover engage in the field of occupational guidance and/or vocational preparation as well as being active in many other fields such as the development of new target groups, for example, by winning over professionals from abroad.

Inter-company vocational training centres thus fulfil important tasks in the field of vocational education and training in Germany:

  • ensuring the ability of many SMEs to provide vocational education and training;
  • quality assurance in vocational education and training;
  • contribution to safeguarding the skilled labour supply;
  • supporting the competitive capability of SMEs (e.g. by way of targeted, state-of-the-art advanced training and continuing education programmes).

They provide a unique educational infrastructure in Germany due to the know-how of their teachers and trainers and the fact that they are equipped to a high technical standard, also owing to the funding support by the federal government and the federal states.

Inter-company vocational training centres are usually governed by chambers of crafts and their affiliated organisations as well as by chambers of industry and commerce and agricultural chambers (legal bodies under public law); however, they may also be governed by independent legal entities (non-profit legal bodies under private law), who have accepted a corresponding educational mandate.