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  • The German VET System

    In this section you find information on the German VET system – on its success factors, its structure and components as well as on challenges and future topics for the further development of the system.

The German VET system

Internationally, Germany’s VET (vocational education and training) system is recognized as a successful model, largely because of the dual system, which leads to high-quality vocational qualifications and enables smooth education-to-work transitions. Although it is definitely at the heart of the German VET system the dual system does not cover all aspects of the German VET system. There have been 490.267 students in the dual system but also 225.590 students who study in so called full-time vocational schools in 2017 (cf. VET Data Report Germany 2017, p. 90). The complete German VET system consists of the elements described below.

VET Glossary

Full-time vocational school

In school-based (vocational and technical) programmes, instruction takes place (either partly or exclusively) in educational institutions. This includes special training centres for vocational education run by public or private authorities or enterprise-based special training centres if these qualify as education institutions. These programmes can have an on-the-job training component, i.e., a component of some practical experience in the workplace.

Source: OECD 2002, Global

In Germany the system of full-time vocational schools supplements the dual VET System. More Information you will find in the section about school-based initial Training in the German VET System.

VET Glossary

Dual system

Education or training combining periods in an educational institution or training centre and in the workplace. The alternance scheme can take place on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Depending on the country and applicable status, participants may be contractually linked to the employer and/or receive a remuneration. (Also referred to as Alternance training).

Source: CEDEFOP 2014, Europe

Detailed information about the German dual VET System


Elements of the German VET system

Vocational orientation
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Vocational orientation

Vocational orientation takes place on the level of compulsory education within the German education system. Early vocational orientation and the fostering of cross-cutting core skills help ensure a seamless transition from school to the working world.

The dual system
© Kompetenzzentrum Technik-Diversity-Chancengleichheit e.V. | Ort: FH Bielefeld

The dual system

The dual system, the central element of the German VET system, is called “dual” because training takes place at two learning venues: in the company and at the vocational school. Apprentices are employed during the apprenticeship by the Company.

School-based initial training
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School-based initial training

Apart from the dual systems, school-based initial training is the main form of training in some sectors like the health sector. This school-based approach is supplemented by several internships and practical stages in companies. However, apprentices are not employed by a company.

Dual study programmes
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Dual study programmes

Dual study programmes were created as a form of educational provision offering both an academic and a practical vocational qualification. This system is aimed at supporting learning transfer and hence achieving a benefit over purely academic or purely hands-on forms of initial vocational training.

Higher education study programmes
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Higher education study programmes

Higher education programmes are mostly academic programmes but some of them offer vocational elements that link them to the vocational education system and the world of work.

Continuing education
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Continuing education

Continuing vocational education and training takes lifelong learning into account and is the classical field for courses to deepen and supplement vocational knowledge, competencies and skills. In practice, a distinction is made between retraining, advanced training and adaptation training.

Note

This section exclusively informs about the German VET system. For information about apprenticeship training places or recognition of foreign qualifications, please see www.make-it-in-germany.com/en and www.recognition-in-germany.de.