BIBB REPORT Edition 3/07
The suspension of the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude (AEVO) and its effects
Philipp Ulmer (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung)Peter Jablonka (Geschäftsführer der Sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschungsgruppe GmbH (SALSS))
The temporary suspension of the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude (AEVO) has led to an increase in the number of training places on offer and an increase in the number of enterprises offering in-house vocational training ('training companies'). These increases however have been smaller than expected. At the same time, there are signs that this new arrangement which was passed on 3 May 2003 is having a negative impact on the quality of the training being provided. A clear majority of the enterprises surveyed feels that the AEVO makes a significant contribution to ensuring that training personnel has earned at least a minimum level of qualification and to ensuring the quality of vocational training as a whole. These are the fundamental findings of a study that the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) conducted in cooperation with the Bonn-based SALSS research institute from October 2006 to November 2007.
A change of law and its effects
As part of the Train Now - Success Needs Everyone vocational training campaign, the Germany government together with industry associations and trade unions adopted in April 2003 a joint declaration with a list of measures to improve the vocational training situation in Germany.1 The most important objective was to persuade companies that had not provided in-house vocational training to date to create new in-house training places. These efforts involved - in addition to activities such as nation-wide training campaigns and national vocational training conferences - measures to modernize 'dual' vocational training (which combines part-time vocational schooling with practical work experience), create more leeway for flexibility and assist (socially or educationally) disadvantaged persons (or persons who are disadvantaged in the training place market). They further entailed realigning and expanding funding programmes for structural improvements in vocational training and for reducing bureaucratic obstacles. This also included the temporary suspension of the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude (AEVO). The AEVO - which parts of trade and industry have called a bureaucratic hurdle - was suspended with the aim of making it easier for enterprises to get involved in providing in-house vocational training.
Following this change in law, trainers of individuals with a training contract that was in force or was concluded during the time between 1 August 2003 and 31 July 2008 no longer have to prove they are qualified as required by the AEVO. In other words, they no longer have to have passed a qualifying examination. This new arrangement does not affect the competent bodies' task of keeping an eye on the quality of the vocational training provided. They continue to be responsible for ensuring that training personnel have the requisite personal and professional qualifications and the training premises are suited to providing in-house vocational training.2
The questions used in the BIBB study
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research tasked BIBB with evaluating the effects of the suspension of the AEVO, specifically with regard to the following questions:
- Awareness of the measure: To what extent do enterprises know about the suspension of the AEVO?LI>
- Quantitative effects: How many additional training companies and training places have been gained as a result of suspending the AEVO?
- Qualitative effects: What effect has the waiver of formal confirmation of the instructor's vocational and teaching skills had on the quality of initial in-company vocational training?
- Outlooks: From the standpoint of day-to-day vocational training practice, what changes are needed for further developing the AEVO?
Who were the addressees of the questions?
The study's findings were based on two surveys: a nation-wide representative survey of enterprises and a survey of chambers of skilled crafts and chambers of industry and commerce. During the survey of enterprises (early April - end of June 2007), 15,000 firms were asked to fill out a standardized questionnaire. Firms that have employees who are subject to social insurance and that are registered in the Company File of the Federal Employment Agency constituted the population for the survey. A disproportionate, stratified random sample was drawn from this file. The following stratification attributes were used:
- Company size with the classes: "1-9 employees", "10-49 employees", "50-249 employees" and "250 or more employees" and
- Provision of in-company vocational training broken down by "companies that took up in-company vocational training (for the first time or after a longer break) after the year 2002" and "companies that provided no in-company vocational training during the period 2000 to 2006".
A combination of several different survey methods was chosen in order to ensure the highest possible response rate and high-quality interview results. Based on this mix, the first wave of the company survey was conducted in writing and by mail. An online survey was carried out parallel to this. A telephone follow-up was conducted so that it was possible to follow-up on a pinpointed basis according to the various stratification criteria.
Using this combination of methods it was possible to evaluate 2,599 cases at the end of the survey. This is equivalent to a gross response rate of 17.3% (based on the total number of companies contacted) and a net response rate of 24.4% (based on the total number of companies contacted minus the sampling losses that are quality neutral.)
The evaluation's second empirical approach was in the form of a survey of chambers (mid-May to the end of June 2007). This survey was conducted to obtain information from a transversal perspective. The target group for this survey encompassed all training advisors at the 54 chambers of skilled crafts and 81 chambers of industry and commerce participating in the survey. The survey was conducted in both printed and electronic form.
One hundred and two out of a total of 135 chambers took part in the survey. This translates into a participation rate of 76%. Forty-four chambers of skilled crafts and 58 chambers of industry and commerce participated.
Validity of the answers
The core question of the evaluation of the quantitative and qualitative effects of the temporary suspension of the AEVO can be answered only approximately. The reason for this is because it was not possible to establish a monocausal connection between the change in the law and companies' going into in-house vocational training. A number of considerations play a role in a firm's decision whether or not to provide in-house vocational training.3 This study also confirms this. According to the study's findings, the most important reasons for providing training - not only for firms that already provided in-house vocational training prior to 2003 but also for those that started providing training in 2003 or later - are that skilled workers that a company has trained itself can be deployed on a more flexible basis, that companies bear responsibility vis-à-vis society and the view that by providing in-house vocational training, a company can reduce the risk of making hiring mistakes.
In order to ascertain the extent to which the temporary suspension of the AEVO - in addition to the above considerations - contributed the provision of in-house vocational training, participating firms were asked whether the new arrangement made it easier or induced them to provide vocational training. As a result, the effect that the change in the legal situation had could only be determined on the basis of the information that the firms themselves provided. The findings regarding the quantitative effects of the temporary suspension of the AEVO are thus based on the respondents' subjective views.
Similarly, the question regarding the qualitative effects had by the temporary suspension of the AEVO can only be answered to a limited extent. In this evaluation it was possible to examine only a few qualitative effects and potential reasons which have to do with the enterprises themselves. It was not possible to cover factors that are not connected first and foremost with the individual company - such as young people's aptitude for vocational training, or their motivation or occupational re-orientation. It has been proved however that these factors play a significant role in the success of in-house vocational training.4
Level of awareness of the AEVO and its suspension
In order to better assess the connection between the suspension of the AEVO and its effects, the participating firms were not only asked about their level of awareness of this measure and of the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude as such, but also about what effects the suspension had on them.
The findings (Fig. 1) show that more than two-thirds (70%) of all interviewed firms know that the requirements placed on training personnel that are responsible for in-company vocational training are regulated by law. However, only one in every five firms (20%) was aware of the AEVO's temporary suspension.
Marked differences become apparent when the responses are broken down by the different groups of companies that are aware of the suspension of the AEVO:
- Awareness of the suspension of the AEVO increases with company size. The level of awareness is only 15% among small firms (less than 10 employees). This figure rises to 68% for large firms (250 or more employees).
- Significant differences can also be seen between sectors of the economy. Awareness of the suspension is lowest in the agriculture and home economics sector (6%) and in the liberal professions (7%); the liberal professions however do not fall under the AEVO. The level of awareness of the new arrangement is also low among the crafts and skilled trades (13%). The crafts and skilled trades however are not affected by the suspension in many cases because those trades which require master craftsman-level qualification already fulfil the AEVO requirements for providing in-house vocational training. By contrast, the level of awareness is markedly higher in the services sector (28%) and in industry (35%).
Asked about the effects of the new arrangement, the majority of companies (56%) that were aware of the suspension assessed the legal impact correctly: Companies that provide in-house vocational training still have to have instructors who have vocational teaching skills and knowledge. They do not however have to have passed a corresponding examination. By contrast, 17% said that any company that wanted to provide in-house vocational training was allowed to do so. And 21% were of the opinion that just having personnel with vocational qualification is sufficient for a company to provide in-house vocational training.
Asked about the direct impact on themselves, three-quarters of those firms that were aware that the AEVO had been suspended said that the change in the legal situation had had no consequences for their company to date: Be it because the company already meets the requirements stipulated by the AEVP (39%) or has provided in-house vocational training for several years already (30%) or because the company continues to attach importance to AEVO-compliant qualification (28%). Companies that have noticed that the suspension of the AEVO has had consequences for their own operations reported firstly that the suspension had made it easier to get involved in providing in-house vocational training (18%) and, secondly, that they were able to take on more trainees as a result of the new arrangement (11%) (Fig. 2).
One of the key questions of the evaluation was: To what extent has it been possible, as a result of the suspension of the AEVO, to tap existing potential for creating additional training places? There are two aspects to this question:
- How many companies could be persuaded to start providing in-house vocational training for the first time and how many new training places could be gained as a result?
- How many companies that were already providing in-house vocational training were put in a position to take on even more trainees thanks to the suspension of the AEVO?
To answer the first question, the analysis examined the group of firms (including new firms) that began providing in-house vocational training after the year 2002 for the first time or that returned to providing in-house vocational training after 2002 following a long period of non-provision. This group numbered some 170,000 according to data from the Federal Employment Service. Of these companies, those 12% were selected which had indicated that the suspension of the AEVO had "facilitated" their taking up in-house vocational training. Thus 20,500 firms said this for the entire period from 2003 - 2006. This translates into an average of approximately 5,100 firms every year that started providing in-house vocational training for the first time.
It is very likely however that this figure overestimates the actual effect that the suspension of the AEVO has had. The reason: Another analysis shows that more than half of those firms that said that the suspension of the AEVO "facilitated" their taking up in-house vocational training already had personnel who meet the AEVO's formal requirements. Consequently, these firms would probably have continued to have the right to provide in-house vocational training even had the AEVO remained in force (and even without an exemption). Taking into account only those enterprises for whom the suspension of the AEVO facilitated their getting involved in providing in-house vocational training and which do not have personnel with the qualifications required by the AEVO, there remains a subgroup of approximately 5% or around 8,500 additional training companies for the entire period from 2003 - 2006, or approximately 2,100 per year.
When one assumes that the entire subgroup of firms with AEVO personnel would have provided in-house vocational training even if the AEVO had not been suspended, the actual quantitative effect would probably lie somewhere between these two calculated values, in other words, roughly 8,500 to 20,500 new training companies for the entire period or in the area of 2,100 to 5,100 new companies per year.
The information provided by the firms surveyed was also used to determine the number of training places that were created in these new training companies. Companies that said that the suspension of the AEVO had made it easier for them to get involved in providing in-house vocational training reported that they took on an average of approximately 3.3 new trainees during the four training years from 2003/04 through 2006/07. Projecting on the basis of 20,500 firms, this translates into approximately 67,000 new training contracts for the entire period or some 17,000 new contracts per year. Looking at the subgroup of companies that do not have personnel with the qualifications required by the AEVO, these figures are approximately 17,000 new training contracts for the entire period or 4,250 per year. The companies in this subgroup signed an average of two new training contracts.
To answer the second question, all companies were selected that had already provided in-house vocational training prior to 2003 (some 500,000 based on data from the Federal Employment Agency) and which still had trainees after 2002 (73% of these companies according to the results of the survey), in other words, approximately 365,000 training companies. Out of this group, those companies were chosen that said the suspension of the AEVO had offered them the chance to "provide more training". This group constitutes a good 5% of the 365,000 companies (in other words, approximately 20,000) which could take on more trainees during the years from 2003 through 2006 than would have been possible (from their point of view) had the AEVO remained in force. These were most likely companies that as a result of the suspension of the AEVO had, for example, the chance to provide training for occupations for which they had not had personnel to date with the qualifications required by the AEVO.
There are special problems involved in estimating the number of training contracts that came about as a result of the suspension of the AEVO because it was unlikely that a direct pre-quoted question regarding this number would lead to valid information. However assuming that it was at least one additional training place per company during the period 2003 - 2006, one arrives at a minimum value of 20,000 for the entire period or 5,000 training places per year.
An attempt to quantify the total effect of the suspension of the AEVO leads to the following figures:
- The number of companies which indicated that the new arrangement made it easier for them to start providing in-house vocational training or made it possible for them to take on more trainees ranges between nearly 30,000 and approximately 40,000 for the entire period (2003 - 2006) or approximately 7,000 to 10,000 per year.
- The span is much larger for the number of additional training places which could be made available more easily as a result of the suspension of the AEVO. This figure probably lies between approximately 40,000 and 100,000 during the entire period (2003 - 2006) or 10,000 to 25,000 per year.
Neither the upper limit nor the lower limit of the above ranges can be used as realistic figures for calculating the increase in the number of training companies and training places. It is to be assumed that the actual increase lies somewhere in the middle of these ranges. The reason: The statements of the responding companies should not be interpreted as meaning that the suspension of the AEVO was the sole reason for their decision to provide in-house vocational training.
Most of the firms that decided to get involved in providing in-house vocational training for the first time were small enterprises with between one and nine employees (67%) or enterprises with 10 to 19 employees (28%). A breakdown by economic sector shows that the suspension of the AEVO was primarily of benefit to service providers (38%) and commercial enterprises (28%).
Looking at the companies for whom the suspension of the AEVO made it possible to take on more trainees, enterprises with 10 to 19 employees (53%) dominated, followed by small enterprises with one to nine employees (32%). With regard to economic sectors, the list was again topped by service providers and commercial businesses (Fig. 3).
In order to be able to assess what effects the suspension of the AEVO had has on the quality of in-company vocational training, two groups of training companies were compared with one another with regard to their own assessments of the in-house vocational training situation: Those companies that have training personnel who meet the AEVO requirements were compared with companies that possibly started providing in-house vocational training as a result of the new arrangement. These were firms that began providing in-house vocational training in 2003 or later and that also indicated that the suspension of the AEVO made it easier for them to get involved in providing training and that they did not have personnel with qualifications that meet AEVO requirements.
The results were contradictory. When the general aspects of the in-house vocational training situation are considered, fundamental differences between the two groups cannot be discerned. There are however definite differences in the case of aspects that are directly related to the training personnel and with regard to the success of the training provided (Fig. 4).
Another way to assess the qualitative effects is to look at the number of contracts the interviewed companies said they had cancelled. Companies were asked firstly about the number of trainees they had during the training years 2003/04 to 2006/07 and secondly about the number of training contracts that were cancelled during this period.5 A cancellation rate can be calculated on the basis of these two figures. This rate averages 15% for all enterprises.
The cancellation rate is somewhat lower (13%) for firms that have training personnel whose qualifications satisfy AEVO requirements. It is much higher (21%) among firms that do not have this type of skilled instructors. The drop-out rate is also 21% for companies that began providing in-house vocational training for the first time in 2003 or later and said that the suspension of the AEVO made it easier for them to become involved in providing training. When this subgroup also lacks training personnel with qualifications that satisfy AEVO requirements, the cancellation rate rises to 29%.
The training advisors at the chambers were also asked about whether and to what extent the quality of in-house vocational training in companies that have personnel with qualifications that satisfy AEVO requirements differs from the quality of the training provided by firms that do not have this type of skilled personnel. Eighty per cent of the respondents said that the latter firms have, first and foremost, a greater need for advisory services. Some 30% said that qualitative differences were also perceivable. Further, the level of training quality is generally lower (32%), there are more conflicts between training personnel and trainees (37%), the number of arbitration cases is greater (28%) and more trainees drop out (28%). By contrast, only 16% reported that the examination results were not as good (Fig. 5).
Looking at the findings broken down by type of chamber, it is evident that the respondents at chambers of skilled crafts were generally more critical in their comments about the suspension of the AEVO than their counterparts at the chambers of industry and commerce (Fig. 6).
The differences ascertained in both surveys certainly cannot be readily attributed to just the presence or lack of training personnel whose qualifications meet AEVO requirements. Firstly, it must be remembered that in many companies that are new to in-house vocational training initial difficulties crop up that are overcome as time goes on. Secondly, it would be constructive when analysing the qualitative effects of the AEVO's suspension to also include other factors that are not primarily connected with the company but also influence the success of training.6
In order to determine how enterprises assess the AEVO's outlooks, they were first asked about the advantages and disadvantages of having the government lay down the standards for training personnel that is responsible for providing in-house vocational training. The question used here was: "What do you fundamentally think of requiring by law that training personnel that is responsible for providing in-house vocational training must provide formal proof of their vocational training skills and knowledge (pass an examination)?" Respondents were provided a list of 12 possible advantage and disadvantages and were allowed to choose more than one answer.
The results show that such an arrangement meets with acceptance in a on of variety of levels:
- Fifty-nine per cent of the respondents said that such an arrangement is necessary in order to ensure that training personnel in all enterprises have minimum qualifications.
- Fifty-eight per cent of the enterprises view such an arrangement as contributing to ensuring training quality.
- Forty-four per cent are of the opinion that such an arrangement is important so that sufficiently qualified training personnel is available for training companies on a longer-term basis as well.
- Forty-four per cent also indicated that this arrangement would provide helpful points of reference regarding the training their instruction personnel require.
- Forty-three per cent said that such an arrangement would provide guidelines for standardized, essential content in the courses provided for training personnel.
On the other hand, the respondents cited the following disadvantages in particular:
- One out of every two (53%) was of the opinion that the arrangement would lead to costs for enterprises which many could not afford.
- Forty-four per cent viewed the arrangement as a bureaucratic hurdle.
- Thirty-nine per cent felt that government regulation is unnecessary because each enterprise is responsible for the training of its own instruction personnel.
- Twenty-nine per cent criticized the excessive amount of time that would be needed to acquire the required qualifications.
In a second step, the participating companies were asked which skills they felt would be particularly important for training personnel in the future. For this question, they were given a list with 18 possible answers (Fig. 7). The following were chosen by far more than 50% of the participating companies:
- Gearing training to the company's work and business processes (75%),
- Collaboration with part-time vocational schools (70%),
- Motivation to pursue lifelong learning (69%),
- Linking initial and continuing vocational training (67%),
- Selecting suitable training place applicants (67%),
- Conflict resolution (64%),
- Training already formally trained skilled personnel (continuing vocational training) (63%),
- Quality development / quality management in in-company vocational training (58%) (Fig. 7).
The chambers were also asked about the outlooks for the AEVO. In this case, some three-fourths of the training advisors (77%) were of the opinion that the AEVO should be put back into force. In this connection, a strong majority (65%) was in favour of revising the ordinance. Only 12% said that the AEVO should be put back into force unchanged.
Preview of Fig. 8: Outlook To
By contrast, only a tiny 3% advocated abolishing the AEVO without replacement. And only a comparatively small group (18%) called for a continued suspension of the AEVO. An examination of the statements broken down by type of chamber revealed marked differences: A nearly two-thirds majority in both types of chambers felt that the AEVO should be put back into force in a revised form. However, a relevant group of 30% of the respondents at the chambers of industry and commerce was in favour of a continued suspension of the AEVO, whereas only 6% at the chambers of skilled crafts was. On the other hand, 19% of the advisors at the chambers of skilled crafts advocated putting the AEVO back into force unchanged. Only 5% of their counterparts at the chambers of industry and commerce were of the same opinion (Fig. 8).
- The number of companies that say the new arrangement has made it easier for them to get involved in providing in-house vocational training or made it possible for them to take on more trainees probably ranges from approximately 7,000 to 10,000 per year. It can be assumed that the suspension of the AEVO made it easier to create a total of 10,000 to 25,000 additional training places per year.
- Qualitative effects from the suspension of the AEVO can particularly be seen with regard to the success of the training provided. Companies whose training personnel meets the qualification requirements set forth in the AEVO report a markedly higher level of success than companies that do not have such employees.
- Although the majority of companies that provide in-house vocational training and of companies that do not provide such training view legislated regulation of trainer qualifications as a means to help ensure minimum qualification levels among training personnel and to maintaining the quality of vocational training. The AEVO thus makes an important contribution to the standing of dual vocational training.
http://www.bmbf.de/de/ausbildungsoffensive.php (as of 5 November 2007)
Sections 32 and 33 of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) 2005
- 3 To assess which determinants affect the willingness of companies to provide in-house vocational training in general and which indications there are for the specific importance of the individual factors, see Walden, Günter: Wovon hängt die Ausbildungsbereitschaft der Betriebe ab? In: BIBB (Ed.): Wege zur Sicherung der beruflichen Zukunft in Deutschland. Festschrift für Helmut Pütz, Bonn 2005, pp. 95-127; Cf. also: Troltsch, Klaus/Krekel, Elisabeth M./Ulrich, Joachim Gerd: Wege und Instrumente zur Steigerung und Stabilisierung der betrieblichen Ausbildungsbeteiligung - Ergebnisse von Expertengesprächen in Betrieben. In Krekel, Elisabeth M./Walden, Günter (Ed.): Zukunft der Berufsausbildung in Deutschland: Empirische Untersuchungen und Schussfolgerungen, Bonn, 2004 pp. 53-93; Beutner, Marc: Ein Determinantenmodell der Ausbildungsbereitschaft von Klein- und Mittelbetrieben - Basis für eine systematische Förderung der Berufsausbildung. In: Krekel, Elisabeth M./Walden, Günter (Ed.): Zukunft der Berufsausbildung in Deutschland, pp. 94-110; Bellmann, Lutz et al.: Personalbewegungen und Fachkräfterekrutierung - Ergebnisse des IAB-Betriebspanels 2005, IAB-Forschungsbericht 11/2006, p. 63 f.
- 4 Cf. Schöngen, Klaus: Ausbildungsvertrag gelöst = Ausbildung abgebrochen? In: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis (BWP), Vol. 32 (2003), Issue 5, pp. 35-39
- 5 Contract cancellations in this case were expressly limited to cancellations that took place after the individual had begun training.
- 6 In order to perform an in-depth analysis of the qualitative effects, several more case studies were conducted in October 2007 in firms that had begun providing in-house vocational training for the first time after 2002.
- Bellmann, Lutz u.a.
Personalbewegungen und Fachkräfterekrutierung -Ergebnisse des IAB-Betriebspanels 2005
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Wege und Instrumente zur Steigerung und Stabilisierung der betrieblichen Ausbildungsbeteiligung - Ergebnisse von Expertengesprächen in Betrieben
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Wovon hängt die Ausbildungsbereitschaft der Betriebe ab?
In: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (ed.): Wege zur Sicherung der beruflichen Zukunft in Deutschland. Festschrift für Prof. Dr. Helmut Pütz, Bonn 2005, pp. 95-127
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Qualifizierte Ausbilder braucht das Land
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