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How young people are guided to the world of work

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.

Vocational orientation is part of the career guidance and counselling process which has two sides. On the one hand, we have the young people who are seeking to orient themselves towards their own interests, competences and objectives. The other side consists of the requirements of the world of work, to which the young people are guided. Both of these sides constantly need to be rebalanced. Vocational orientation provision supports young people in mastering this process.

With this thought in mind, in 2008 the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched the Vocational Orientation Programme (BOP) entitled "Supporting vocational orientation in inter-company vocational training centres and comparable VET centres" which was eventually adopted in June 2010.

The objective is to offer to school pupils all over Germany a vocational orientation process that will enable them to develop a realistic idea of their own abilities and interests and to gather practical experience in a variety of occupational fields.

The Vocational Orientation Programme focusses on pupils attending schools of general education. Funding is provided for an analysis of potential (Potenzialanalyse), which usually takes place during the second half of Year 7, and for workshops in Year 8. The analysis of potential enables pupils to arrive at an initial assessment of their own predispositions and competences. Following this, the two-week workshops (Werkstatttage) provide them with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with at least three occupational fields.

Funding guidelines stipulate that the measures are conducted at an inter-company training centre or at a comparable institution with experience in the provision of initial vocational education and training.
The Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) is in charge of overall programme management. Institutions apply for funding to the BIBB and conclude a cooperation agreement with the participating schools for the implementation of the programme. Furthermore BIBB supports the programme by providing evaluation and academic research and technical expertise. It also monitors progress and identifies any amendments that may be required. The preventative approach adopted by the programme contributes towards the avoidance of training dropouts and assists in reducing the number of unplaced training applicants during the transitional phase.

VET Glossary

Career guidance and counselling

A range of activities that enable citizens of any age, and at any point in their lives, to identify their capacities, competences and interests; to make meaningful educational, training and occupational decisions; and to manage their individual life paths in learning, work and other settings in which these capacities and competences are learned and/or used.

Source: EU Commission Lifelong guidance policy development glossary

VET Glossary

Unplaced training applicants

VET Glossary

Training dropout

Withdrawal from an education or training programme before its completion.

Source: CEDEFOP 2014, Europe

VET Glossary

Initial vocational education and training

A work-based training process or activity for apprentices/trainees. It leads to a formal qualification. The activities are often financed (partly or wholly) by the enterprise, but this is not a mandatory condition. Apprentices/trainees often have a special training contract.

Source: EU Commission (NRDC) 2011, Europe

VET Glossary

Occupational field

VET Glossary

Two-week workshop (Werkstatttage)

The Werkstatttage are a two-week workshop which provides young people with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with at least three occupational fields. During the workshop days, the young people are instructed by experienced in-company trainers who help them to disvoer their talents and interests.

Source: BOP

VET Glossary

Analysis of potential / vocational assessment

Vocational assessment is the process of determining an individual’s interests, abilities and aptitudes and skills to identify vocational strengths, needs and career potential. Vocational assessment may use a variety of standardized techniques (e.g., tests) or nonstandardized approaches (e.g., interviews, observing people). Vocational assessment is part of the vocational guidance process and usually results in recommendations for training or employment.

Source: ILO

The Vocational Orientation Programme focusses on pupils attending schools of general education. Funding is provided for an analysis of potential (Potenzialanalyse), which usually takes place during the second half of Year 7, and for workshops in Year 8. The analysis of potential enables pupils to arrive at an initial assessment of their own predispositions and competences. Following this, the two-week workshops (Werkstatttage) provide them with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with at least three occupational fields.

Source: BOP

VET Glossary

Inter-company vocational training centre (ÜBS)

Inter-company vocational training centres are the learning venue for centralised complementary vocational education and training and qualification in the field of advanced training and continuing education. They significantly contribute to ensuring the ability of SMEs to provide vocational education and training and thereby help to safeguard the skilled labour supply.

Source: BIBB

Because of increasing specialisation and competition, especially in technical occupations for which training is also provided in the craft trades sector, it is often the case that not all equipment and machines required for complete learning in the occupation are available at companies. The task spectrum of some companies sometimes does not cover all training contents. The intention is, however, that trainees should learn about all areas of their occupation. For this reason, the guilds or guild associations and the chambers have set up inter-company workshops, in which trainees take part in occupationally-specific teaching programmes. Much use is made of this inter-company component, particularly in the craft trades.

The inter-company training centres supplement the contents which trainees do not learn at their companies. They also learn about the latest technological developments in their specialist field and thus help with the transfer of new technologies to small and medium-sized companies.

Source: Jobstarter


Inter-company training also serves a pedagogical function by acting as a so-called third learning environment, in which practical and theoretical components are systematically imparted. The length of inter-company training is stipulated either in the training regulations or by the chamber responsible. Costs of inter-company training are borne by the former. The state supports the inter-company instruction of apprentices.

VET Glossary

Competence

The proven or demonstrated individual capacity to use know-how, skills, qualifications or knowledge in order to meet the usual, and changing, occupational situations and requirements.

Source: UNESCO 1984, Global

In the broader educational discussion, competence is generally understood to mean the combination of knowledge and skills in coping with demands for new occupational situations. The competent persons are those who, on the basis of knowledge, abilities and skills, are able to generate new action that is currently required. In particular, the competence concept emphasises coping with situations that require non-standard action and problem solving.

Soruce: BIBB

VET Glossary

Vocational orientation / Vocational guidance

The German dual VET System defines the term vocational orientation as follows:

Vocational orientation is a process that has two sides. On the one hand, we have the young people who are seeking to orient themselves towards their own interests, competences and objectives. The other side consists of the requirements of the world of work, to which the young people are guided. Both of these sides constantly need to be rebalanced. Vocational orientation provision supports young people in mastering this process.

Source: BIBB

 

To provide the knowledge and skills to enter the economy through a general, broad orientation in vocational areas, as well as general learning in essential areas such as Language and Mathematics.

Source: SAQA 2013, South Africa