A new training year with major challenges
Friedrich Hubert Esser
Increasingly the focus of research and political discussion, a structured career orientation process ought to be in place at the start of training. This process can be regarded as successful if young people are in a position to make a career choice which reflects their capabilities and talents. This is because we know people are more satisfied at work if they make a decision which, as far as possible, is well suited to their own ideas and capabilities. However not all young people manage to start training in their desired career.
Matching problems remain a challenge
Although the overall situation on the training market has improved over the last ten years thanks to the commitment shown by business and policy-making across a range of areas, many young adults have no formal qualifications. In Germany as a whole, this figure is still approximately two million young people under the age of 34. More than 80,000 young people were unsuccessful in their search for a training position in 2016. We would therefore be well advised to keep an eye in particular on access into vocational education and training from the perspective of young people. We should look to proven practice in this regard. Introductory qualifications and assisted training are just two of the tools which must be emphasized in future in terms of funding and utilisation.
Supporting young refugees on their route into training
There has been strong growth once again in the transitional sector, not least due to the entry of young refugees into training. Many of them, for example, use the pre-vocational training year for language learning and to acquire basic vocational knowledge.
All stakeholders in practice and in policy-making have now understood that the transition into training by young refugees requires significant time resources. The need for support – whether for learning the German language, for guidance on training courses and work relating to training occupations in Germany or simply coping with day-to-day organisation does not simply stop when training begins. Individual support to accompany training is also necessary, as illustrated by the results of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit [Federal Employment Agency]/BIBB Migration Study. In order to guarantee this, and in addition to personal commitment, general conditions in particular are requested to enable support in the regulatory system. Support programs and initiatives at federal and state level provide grounds for optimism in this respect!
Strengthening support structures for companies
Support provided for integration can only take effect, however, if those responsible in companies are aware of it and use it. It seems to me that even more work needs to be done here in terms of information and explanation. Focusing on stakeholders in the regions, particular priority must be given to pressing ahead with the development of a future-oriented support structure for companies. This concerns, for example, provision in line with requirements, e.g. by chambers, district craft trade associations and guilds which are available to companies for initiating training as well as for implementing training in the regions. In this way and together with modern technology and training centres as well as smart vocational schools, training regions can become significantly more effective.
Finally, I would like to wish all vocational education and training stakeholders every success in overcoming the challenges which lie ahead in order that all young people who opted for vocational education and training can make a successful start to professional life!
PROF. DR. FRIEDRICH HUBERT ESSER
President of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training
Translation from the German original (published in BWP 4/2017): Martin Lee, GlobalSprachTeam, Berlin