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BIBB combines research and practice

The BIBB is Germany's national competence centre for vocational education and training. In this capacity it advises and supports policy makers, researchers and stakeholders in other countries in the reform of their vocational education and training systems. The latest research insights from the field of vocational education and training form the basis for this advisory service.

The BIBB is Germany's national competence centre for vocational education and training. It researches issues pertaining to vocational education and training and helps to introduce the results into the configuration of occupational practice in Germany. The BIBB's combination of occupational research and practice is a nationwide unique feature in the field of German vocational education and training.

The BIBB supports other countries in the reform of their vocational education and training systems by providing system consulting services. These consulting services are equally addressed at policy makers, researchers and stakeholders in the field of practical application. The latest research insights and the BIBB's comprehensive practical experience form the basis for these consulting services. The BIBB provides some consulting services in co-operation with other stakeholders of vocational education and training, such as the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs), providers of vocational training and continuing education, vocational education and training institutions of the social partners and various federal state departments. The BIBB's advisory services cover the following five fields:

1. Governance of vocational education and training

One of the main pillars of the dual system of vocational education and training is the governance through and involvement of the social partners. The state and industry jointly safeguard the framework conditions of vocational education and training. This includes:

  • shared funding,
  • the development and implementation of curricula and
  • the examination and certification of attained competences.

The social partnership governance of vocational education and training therefore is of key importance in the system consulting provision. Here, the BIBB provides advice and support in the following fields:

Social partnership governance and involvement

The BIBB provides insights into the social partnership governance of the German dual system of vocational education and training. It advises and supports in defining the roles and responsibilities of the individual stakeholders of vocational education and training. For this purpose, it regularly trains mentors on site, who then support this process.

Legal framework

The legal framework of the dual vocational education and training system in Germany is defined by the Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG – Vocational Training Act) and the Handwerksordnung (HwO – Trade and Crafts Code). The BIBB advises and supports other countries in developing legal framework conditions for vocational and advanced training.

Networking

The implementation of social partnership governance in Germany takes place on an institutional level by way of networking. In Germany, the chambers play an important role in this process. The BIBB supports stakeholders in other countries to establish and govern networks. For example, this may involve the devising of occupational information and management systems and communication platforms.

Vocational education and training funding models

The joint funding of vocational and advanced training by the state and the industry is a fundamental principle of the dual vocational education and training system. The BIBB advises and supports countries in their development of funding models. Ideally, this involves the social partners in the respective countries and takes place in close co-operation with them. Experts and executives are familiarised with the German funding models. Subsequently, funding models that are adapted to the respective national context are jointly developed. Experience shows that, in the field of industry, the advantages of investing in the training of skilled personnel first have to be communicated.

2. Learning in the work process

Learning in real-life work processes is both a didactic concept and a specific characteristic of the dual vocational education and training system. The aim is to achieve the greatest possible coupling of learning and working in the business as a learning venue . The vocational education and training system in Germany works on the premise that the most successful learning takes place in real-life work processes. Correspondingly, action- and work-based teaching and learning concepts have become the norm. Situations within the business and work processes that are conducive to learning are identified and used for the attainment of occupational competences. Here, the BIBB provides advice and support in the following fields:

Integrated work-based learning

The dual vocational education and training system helps to develop the capacity for working independently. The combination of in-company and school-based training phases allows for the imparting of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. At the same time, apprentices acquire a thorough understanding of the business processes of their chosen occupation. This is why work-based training in a business constitutes a key element in the BIBB's system consulting services. The BIBB supports the organisation of work-based learning, in particular by way of practical examples, and assists in the devising of vocational education and training plans.

Co-operation between learning venues

In-company and school-based phases of vocational education and training should complement each other in a meaningful manner. This requires co-operation in providing vocational education and training (co-operation between learning venues), in addition to co-ordinating the school curricula and in-company training plans. This may involve also central training facilities in addition to the learning venues of school and businesses. The BIBB provides advice and support regarding the necessary co-ordination processes and trains mentors in the respective countries.

Organisation of in-company training

Companies are production sites or service providers and pursue profit-making objectives. Only in the second instance are they businesses providing vocational training. Work situations that are conducive to learning, where business and work processes are used for attaining occupational competence, have to first be organised. The BIBB supports the organisation of work-based learning, in particular by way of practical examples and assistance in the devising of vocational education and training plans.

3. Vocational education and training standards

The attractiveness and efficiency of vocational education and training are mainly due to the fact that the education system's range of qualifications follows the qualification requirements of the labour market. This requires the formulation of uniform vocational education and training standards. Here, the BIBB provides advice and support in the following fields:

Development of national occupational, vocational training and examination standards

The BIBB supports the development of occupational, vocational training and examination standards in the respective countries by involving all relevant stakeholders. Ideally, this may involve also German industry representatives. The process aims at defining the occupational, vocational training and examination standards for the individual occupations requiring formal and advanced training. Here, it is advisable to first train multipliers.

Organisation of the examination system

The BIBB advises and supports countries in their development of a national examination system. In co-operation with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs), the BIBB provides support in the devising of examination questions as well as in the development of national examination databases. Possible methods of qualifying the examination personnel in the respective countries can include their sitting-in at examinations carried out by German chambers or the simulation of examination scenarios. The BIBB provides advice and support in the establishment of web-based portals for examiners, such as www.prueferportal.org.

Development and modernisation of occupational profiles

The BIBB advises and supports countries in their development of new occupational profiles and in the modernisation of existing ones. This includes also the implementation of vocational and advanced training regulations for different industry sectors and occupations.

Development of national qualification frameworks

The recognition of attained qualifications is a topical subject of increasing importance. The BIBB advises and supports countries in their development of national and regional qualification frameworks.

4. Qualification of the vocational teaching and training staff

The BIBB's experience in providing consulting services shows that many countries have next to no structures in place for the systematic qualification of vocational college teachers and in-company training supervisors. Frequent qualification deficits can be observed regarding training in theoretical knowledge, educational skills and subject-specific didactic methodology as well as practical work experience in the relevant field. The BIBB provides advice and support in the development of qualification concepts and provides advice regarding the understanding of the role of vocational teachers and trainers. The BIBB moreover provides support in the planning of qualification programmes and training courses. Corresponding exercises are partly available as an online service. With the www.foraus.de portal, the BIBB provides the vocational teaching and training staff at schools and businesses with a platform for the exchange of experience. The BIBB supports countries in the establishment of their own platform. It moreover provides advice and support in the following fields:

Professionalisation of vocational teaching and training staff

Teachers and in-company training supervisors have to have educational and practical subject-related competence. This is why their qualification must follow an integrated concept. In co-operation with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) and German providers of vocational and advanced training in the partner countries, the BIBB supports the development of suitable qualification concepts and programmes.

Understanding of the role of vocational teaching and training staff

Helping apprentices to develop competences that pursue action orientation and work process orientation places specific demands on the vocational teaching and training staff. This includes their understanding of their role as well as their educational, didactic and methodological qualification. The BIBB provides advice for the development of suitable qualification programmes for vocational teaching and training staff.

Innovative forms of teaching and learning

Globalisation, technological progress, the increase in knowledge and the information explosion make life more complex and less predictable. With regards to the workplace, these developments change the qualification requirements in increasingly shorter intervals. This places new demands on vocational education and training. In their capacity as learning venues, schools and companies have to impart an understanding of how to deal with complex problems. To achieve this, they have to create a basis for lifelong learning and in particular teach key qualifications, orientation knowledge and competences for learning. Since learning is most efficient in real-life work scenarios, action-oriented teaching and learning processes have become the norm at schools, whereas businesses focus on concepts based on work process orientation. Competence development requires the use of appropriate, innovative forms of teaching and learning and corresponding material. The BIBB provides advice and support in the development of appropriate teaching and learning material. It moreover supports the implementation of forms of teaching and learning. In doing so, the BIBB co-operates with experts in the field of in-company and vocational college training practice.

Development of vocational and advanced training facilities

The BIBB advises and supports countries in the development and expansion of vocational and advanced training facilities. The introduction of dual structures to the vocational education and training system often entails a process of organisational development for institutions that are active in the field of vocational education and training. This can equally affect both the organisational structure of the institution and the processes within. For example, the expansion of vocational colleges to become modern institutions of vocational education and advanced training usually requires competences and measures in several fields. These can include training regulations, the vocational teaching and training staff and the learning environment.

5. Institutionalised vocational education and training research

Vocational education and training research helps to trigger, shape and evaluate innovation of the vocational education and training system in Germany. Research results provide the basis for planning education policy decisions. Important research fields in this context include the early detection of qualification requirements, quality assurance of vocational education and training, education economics and learning research. Vocational education and training research contributes to quality assurance and further development in the field of vocational education and training. Here, the BIBB provides advice in the following fields:

Establishment and development of vocational education and training institutions

The BIBB advises and supports countries in the establishment and development of national vocational education and training institutions, vocational education and training research institutions and the establishment of national committees and advisory bodies. This often entails a process of organisational development for the institutions. This can equally affect both the organisational structure of the institution and the processes within.

Development of national vocational education and training reporting structures

Research results support education policy decisions in Germany. The BIBB advises and supports countries in the development of a national vocational education and training reporting structure on the basis of which stakeholders can make substantiated and sustainable political decisions and can initiate processes.

Skills development research

Skills development research results allow for the early assessment of the qualification requirements of a national economy in order to react with tailored vocational and advanced training programmes. The BIBB advises and supports countries in the assessment of qualification requirements in national and regional labour markets as well as in the development of an early detection system for skills development trends.

Cost-benefit models

The cost-benefit ratio is a main argument for forms of vocational education and training that are integrated into businesses or even follow dual structures. The BIBB advises and supports countries in their development of cost-benefit ratios in vocational education and training.

Quality monitoring and development

The BIBB advises and supports countries in the development of structures for quality assurance and quality monitoring in the field of vocational education and training.

New publications

  • Modernising Vocational Education and Training