Strongest growth in new training contracts since reunification

2006 BIBB survey on newly concluded training contracts

Joachim Gerd Ulrich, Simone Flemming, Ralf-Olaf Granath, Elisabeth M. Krekel

The economic upturn and the positive development in employment have also served to put wind into the sails of the training market and initiatives aimed at increasing the supply of apprenticeships. The 576,378 newly concluded training contracts in 2006 represented an increase of around 26,200 or +4.8% over 2005. This is the highest year-on-year growth since reunification.


Published: December-15-06 URN: urn:nbn:de:0035-0197-2

Development within the individual fields of activity

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Increases were especially recorded in the major fields of trade and industry and craft trades. Trade and industry showed a plus of 20,770 or +6.6 % additional newly concluded contracts, craft trades growing by 5,579 or +3.6 %. A total of 336,935 contracts were concluded in the field of trade and industry, the figure for craft trades being 162,604.

Newly concluded training contracts 2005 and 2006 according to field of activity

Development in the smaller fields was inconsistent.
Agriculture recorded around 1,000 additional contracts compared to a year ago (+7.0%) within a total volume of 15,813 newly concluded contracts. The liberal professions, on the other hand, saw a distinct fall in the number of newly concluded training contracts, experiencing a decrease of 1,507 or 3.5% and only achieving a total of 42,110.

The negative development within the liberal professions is particularly due to the sharp fall in the number of new contracts in chemists' and doctors' and dentists' surgeries. Legal practices, tax consultants and veterinary surgeons, on the other hand, concluded a similar number of contracts to the previous year.

14,307 training place applicants went into occupations in the public sector this year, representing an increase of 136 or 1.0% over 2005. The number of new contracts in housekeeping went up by 200 (4.9 %), bringing this year's figure to 4,320. In the smallest field of activity, maritime shipping, 289 training contracts were recorded, nine fewer than in 2005. When interpreting the results according to the various fields of activity, consideration needs to be accorded to the fact that the actual amount of training provided within the individual field goes beyond the figures stated here. The public sector, for example, does not only provide training in occupations for which it is directly responsible and which are represented by the figure stated here of around 14,300 new contracts. It in fact offers a large number of training places within fields of activity governed by trade and industry and craft trades, the contracts for these being registered within the last named fields. Actual training in recognised training occupations provided by the public sector is estimated to be about double the figures stated above. The training positions of candidates for the civil service also need to be added. The liberal professions also deliver a wide range of training in occupations where the contracts are counted under trade and industry.

Background information on the BIBB survey of 30 September 2006: all training contracts concluded between 1 October of the previous year and 30 September of the current year are included in the survey. The figures relating to contracts are collected at district Federal Employment Agency level, divided up according to individual occupations. Within this process, subsequent contracts are recorded separately and, in contrast to the practice followed by the vocational education and training statistics published by the Federal Statistical Office (StBA), are not included within the total number of newly concluded contracts, the reason for this being that subsequent contracts are usually of less than 24 months' duration.01 Registrations of newly concluded training contracts are passed on to BIBB by the competent bodies by the end of November/start of December, initial evaluation results being ready as early as mid-December and being used for the Federal Government's Report on Vocational Education and Training. Since April 2005, § 86 of the Amended Vocational Training Act (BBiG) has constituted the legal basis for the BIBB survey.

Reasons for the positive development

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As has been the overall case in the recent past, the year's result once again demonstrates the heavy dependence of the training market on the development of the labour market. This hardly comes as a surprise in light of the fact that the extent of the supply of training places is essentially based on the personnel requirements of the companies. This also means that there is a close correlation with the number of employment contracts.

Following a long lean spell, this year finally saw positive momentum once again emanating from the labour market. After the loss of around 1.7 million employment contracts subject to social insurance contributions between September 2000 and September 2005 (also bringing a heavy fall in the number of new training contracts in its wake), the number of those in employment rose by 317,000 between September 2005 and September 2006. This trend reversal on the labour market also provided support for the numerous initiatives and programmes aimed at stabilising the supply of training places (including the National Pact for Training and JOBSTARTER). The growth of around 25,500 in the number of newly concluded training contracts was, however, significantly higher than the increase which would have been expected from the momentum within the employment system alone. This additional effect may certainly be interpreted as a sign that the endeavours and efforts underlying these initiatives have paid off.

If the upturn on the labour market continues, there is every hope that the growth seen this year in newly concluded apprenticeship contacts will prove to be a turning point towards a permanently more positive situation on the training market rather than being a mere flash in the pan.

Development according to region

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It is also pleasant to record that a positive development was achieved in both West and East Germany this year. A total of 452,440 contracts were concluded in West Germany, a year-on-year rise of 18,278 or 4.2%, the increase in East Germany being 7,920 or 6.8% and the total number of contracts concluded 123,938. Relative growth was thus even higher in East Germany than was the case in the West. Individual regions within East Germany did, however, profit in purely statistical terms from the fact that some state funded training places from support programmes in 2005 did not come into force until 1 October 2005, meaning they were included in the period of this year's survey.02 This purely statistical effect is, however, only likely to be part of the reason for the positive development in the federal states of East Germany and in Berlin.

With the exception of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where around 480 fewer apprenticeship contracts were concluded, all federal states were able to report positive changes. Particularly strong growth rates in percentage terms were recorded in Brandenburg (+19.2 %), Saxony (+9.0 %), Thuringia (+7.5 %), Schleswig-Holstein (+6.9 %), Hamburg (+6,4 %), Rhineland-Palatinate (+6.0 %) and Berlin (+5.9 %).

If the figures are differentiated according to the 176 Federal Employment Agency districts (Berlin is consolidated into a single region), a total of 155 districts have achieved a positive development in training contracts. A year previously, only 31 districts were able to record a positive trend.

Development of purely company-based contracts

Leider kann in der BIBB-Erhebung noch nicht in ausreichendem Maße zwischen rein betrieblichen und den überwiegend öffentlich finanzierten ("außerbetrieblichen") Ausbildungsverträgen unterschieden werden. Ersten Schätzungen zufolge dürfte die positive Entwicklung aber vor allem auf eine deutliche Zunahme der betrieblichen Ausbildungsverträge zurückzuführen sein.

The training situation remains extremely difficult despite the increase in contracts

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Notwithstanding the extremely pleasing results in respect of the newly concluded training contracts, the market situation remains markedly difficult for young people. A large amount of training place provision has been lost in the course of the employment cuts which have taken place over the past years, and demographic developments have meant that the market has had to cope with constantly increasing numbers of pupils completing general schooling. Taken together, these two developments have had the effect of bringing about an undersupply of training places over many years.

A consideration of the number of newly concluded contracts as a percentage of pupils completing general schooling serves to illustrate, in purely statistical terms, just how difficult the current situation still is. Whereas there were still well over 70 new apprenticeship contracts per 100 school leavers at the start of the 1990's, the figure had fallen to as low as just under 59 by the year 2005.

Although this year's rate once again increased to just over 61, this continues to be well below levels achieved in previous years.

The negative developments of past years have led to the creation of an ever increasing backlog of previous applicants, now competing for apprenticeships with those who have just left school. For the first time, more than one in two training place applicants registered with the Federal Employment Agency in 2006 was a "previous applicant", or a young person who had left school before the current placement year. Due to the massive rise in the number of previous applicants in recent years, conditions on the training market are, unfortunately, no less tight than was the case in past years, notwithstanding the growth in the number of contracts seen this year.03

Representative surveys show that the chances of previous applicants who have already sought to commence vocational education and training in previous years tend to be less favourable compared to new school leavers.

Forecast of school leaver numbers in the coming years

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As far as future numbers of pupils completing general education are concerned, the forecasts of the Federal Statistical Office demonstrate that West and East Germany face very different developments.

Although the number of pupils completing general education in the East has already been falling for some time, from next year there will be a drastic acceleration in this decline. The lowest point will be reached in 2011, when the figure of 109,600 school leavers will not even be half the level of the year 2000. Next year will still see 183,600 young people In East Germany obtaining a school leaving certificate, 14,100 fewer than this year.

In the medium term, demographic developments will bring about an easing of the situation on the East German training market from the young people's point of view. There will be a reduction in the proportion of replacement extra-company training places, and fewer young people will need to move to the West to find appropriate training provision. One fact which remains to be emphasised, however, is that the high numbers commencing extra-company training, the training commuters to the West and the many previous applicants have created a major buffer which will continue to dampen the effects of the decreases in demand occasioned by demographic developments for some years to come.

In the West, there will be more school leavers in every year until 2015 than there were in the year 2000, when 683,800 young people completed general schooling, although the demographic peak will be reached as early as next year, when 754,300 young people will (provisionally) finish their general education (10,600 more than in 2006). After 2007, the demographic situation will also bring about a fall in the number of school leavers in the West, although the change in the duration of schooling from 13 to 12 years will once again create strong peaks in some years (2011, 2013), when some federal states in the West will have to cope with two cohorts completing the upper secondary school leaving certificate. The development in the numbers of school leavers means that a fundamental and demographically based easing of the situation on the apprenticeship market is not yet in sight. The number of school leavers in West Germany will not fall below the level of 2000 until the year 2018.


"Text in inverted commas" indicates the translation of the title of a German language publication.

  • Eberhard, Verena; Krewerth, Andreas; Ulrich, Joachim Gerd (2006)
    Mangelware Lehrstelle. Zur aktuellen Lage der Ausbildungsplatzbewerber in Deutschland ("Apprenticeships in short supply. The current situation of training place applicants in Germany") in the German language publication ("Vocational Education and Training Reports") (Berichte zur beruflichen Bildung, H. 279). Bielefeld: W. Bertelsmann Verlag.
  • Ehrenthal, Bettina; Eberhard, Verena; Ulrich, Joachim Gerd (2005)
    Maturity for an apprenticeship - a bone of contention for experts too.
  • Friedrich, Michael (2006)
    Jugendliche in Ausbildung. Wunsch und Wirklichkeit. ("Young people in training: wishes and reality")
    in the German language periodical: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis 35(2006)3, S. 7-11.
  • Troltsch, Klaus; Krekel, Elisabeth M.; Ulrich, Joachim Gerd (2004)
    Wege und Instrumente zur Steigerung und Stabilisierung der betrieblichen Ausbildungsbeteiligung - Ergebnisse von Expertengesprächen in Betrieben. ("Ways and instruments to increase and stabilise participation in in-company training - results of expert interviews in companies".)
    In: Krekel, Elisabeth M.; Walden, Günter (Hrsg.):
    Zukunft der Berufsausbildung in Deutschland: Empirische Untersuchungen und Schlussfolgerungen ("The future of vocational education and training in Germany: empirical studies and conclusions".)
    Bielefeld: W. Bertelsmann, S. 53-93.
    (Berichte zur beruflichen Bildung ; Heft 273)
  • Troltsch, Klaus (2006)
    1,6 Millionen Jugendliche im Abseits? Strukturelle Ausbildungslosigkeit in Deutschland. ("1.6 million young people cast aside? Structural lack of training in Germany") in the German language periodical: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis 35(2006)3, S. 44-46.
  • Uhly, Alexandra; Granato, Mona (2006)
    Werden ausländische Jugendliche aus dem dualen System der Berufsausbildung verdrängt? ("Are foreign young people being squeezed out of the dual system of vocational education and training?") in the German language periodical:  Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis 35(2006)3, S. 51-55.
  • Ulrich, Joachim Gerd (2006)
    Wie groß ist die "Lehrstellenlücke" wirklich? ("How wide is the 'apprenticeship gap' really?") in the German language periodical:
    In: Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis 35(2006)3, S. 12-16.
  • Ulrich, Joachim Gerd (2005)
    Probleme bei der Bestimmung von Ausbildungsplatznachfrage und Ausbildungsplatzangebot. Definitionen, Operationalisierungen, Messprobleme. ("The problems of determining training place demand and supply. Definitions, operationalisations, problems of measurement".)
    In: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (Hrsg.)(Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Ed.): Der Ausbildungsmarkt und seine Einflussfaktoren. Dokumentation der Fachtagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berufsbildungsforschungsnetz vom 01./02. Juli 2004. ("The training market and the factors which influence it. Documentation from the specialist conference of the Vocational Education and Training Research Network Working Group held on 1 and 2 July 2004.") - Bonn: BIBB, pp. 5-36.
  • Ulrich, Joachim Gerd; Krekel, Elisabeth M.; Flemming, Simone (2006)
    Ambivalent Placement Report of the Federal Employment Agency: More young people starting training, but more unsuccessful training place applicants than in previous year.
  • 1

    For more information in English on the differences between the 30 September survey of newly concluded training contracts and the 31 December statistics see: http://www.bibb.de/en/18599.htm.

  • 2

    There is thus a significantly negative correlation between the rates of change in the 35 regions of East Germany from 2005 to 2006 (r = - 0.48), particularly in the three federal states which succeeded in recording especially high levels of relative growth during this year (r = - 0.56). This means that above average positive rates of change have been observed in precisely the regions which demonstrated especially negative rates in 2005. This suggests that some of the additional training places made available during the course of the year came on stream in 2006 rather than in 2005.

  • 3

    For more information in English on the extent of previous applicants and further results on this year's placement process conducted by the vocational guidance bodies of the Federal Employment Agency see also: http://www.bibb.de/en/27399.htm

Date of Publication, information Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

Publication on the Internet: December-15-06

URN: urn:nbn:de:0035-0197-2

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek has archived the electronic publication "Strongest growth in new training contracts since reunification", which is now permanently available on the archive server of Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.

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