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Enterprises and competent bodies - organisers of vocational education and training

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Out-of-school vocational education and training is governed uniformly and nationwide by the Vocational Training Act.

Each individual enterprise finances the training by itself. Special services, such as the training of disadvantaged young people in enterprises or inter-enterprise training of trainees, are subsidised by the State, but this does not revoke the principle that enterprises have to fund their own vocational training.

Whether a company has “training competence”, depends on whether it is suitable as a training facility and whether it employs instructors with the requisite personal and professional qualifications. The verification of this “competence” is the responsibility of the competent authorities.

The implementation of initial vocational education and training in private enterprises and public administrations is monitored by the “competent bodies”. The term “competent bodies” refers to the Chambers 8 (that is, Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Chambers of Crafts and Trades, Chambers of Agriculture, and chambers of the liberal professions, such as the Medical Chambers), the competent authorities of the public service and the competent bodies of churches and other religious organisations governed by public law.

Under the terms of the Vocational Training Act, the competent authorities have the task of

  • supervising vocational training preparation, vocational training and retraining,
  • maintaining the directory of apprenticeships9, in which the essential content of the vocational training relationship is to be entered (in the crafts, this is the “Apprentices’ Register”),
  • to advise the enterprises in all training issues through the intermediary of training counsellors,
  • to monitor the aptitude of the training staff and the training facility,
  • to conduct the intermediate and final examinations or journeyman examinations,
  • to monitor and support stays in other countries.

Under the terms of the Vocational Training Act the competent authorities are obliged to set up vocational education and training committees consisting of six representatives of trade unions, six employers’ representatives and six teachers at vocational schools. The vocational education and training committees must be informed and heard in all important matters concerning vocational education and training. Also, they have the task of promoting continuous development of the quality of vocational education and training under the terms of the Vocational Training Act.

The implementation and design of initial vocational education and training in the enterprises is their responsibility. There are numerous opportunities and options available for doing so. For example, the teaching of training content that the enterprise that is actually responsible cannot provide (for technical, economic or personal reasons) can be done in inter-company training centres (überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten, ÜBS) or in a training alliance with other companies. The curricula formulated in the training regulations represent minimum standards. Each enterprise thus has the possibility to take up other topics in its training and to offer the trainees additional qualifications.