Training process and training skills areas within the German dual VET system

The dual system is characterized by two central features: One refers to the fact that training takes places at two learning venues. The other refers to the fact that the training takes places along training skills areas, the so-called recognized training occupations (anerkannte Ausbildungsberufe)

Training process and training skills areas within the German dual VET system

Training positions/apprenticeships are offered in both private and public enterprises, in practices of the liberal professions and, to a very limited extent, in private households. Enterprises enter into a contract with apprentices, where they bear the costs of in-company training and pay the trainee remuneration. This is regulated by collective agreement and increases with every year of training, averaging about a third of the starting pay for a trained skilled worker. The professional competences to be acquired through in-company training are specified in training regulations and included by the training enterprise in an individual training plan. The binding requirements of the training regulations guarantee a uniform national standard. For teaching in vocational schools, a framework curriculum is drawn up for every recognised training occupation in accordance with the training regulations.

There are 330 training occupations recognized by the state and developed on the basis of national standards. Training regulations are constantly modernized and new regulations are developed on demand. Qualifications are classified according to the German National Qualifications Framework (NQR).

However, small and mediumsized enterprises are often unable to provide all the stipulated learning content: they may lack suitable training personnel, or, owing to their particular specialisation, may not cover all the training content themselves. There are various ways to overcome these problems:

  1. Inter-company vocational training centres (überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten, ÜBS) designed to supplement in-company training: education institutions offer periods in these training centres, which are often sponsored by autonomous bodies in the relevant sectors of industry. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports sponsors with investment subsidies (for buildings and infrastructure). The Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) is responsible for promoting inter-company training centres and supporting the planning, establishment and development of these facilities;
  2. Enterprises can form joint training structures (Ausbildungsverbünde) where each partner covers parts of the training content. This means that companies join forces to be able to offer the entire spectrum of training (Country report, p. 11).

Usually, the apprentice spends 3-4 days per week at the learning venue company, mostly at the workplace. He works on the basis of a training regulation and a training contract. At the learning venue vocational school the apprentice studies 1-2 day per week (or in blocks every 6 weeks) on the basis of the curricula for VET schools which are developed by the federal states. Teachers in VET schools teach special and general competencies. The curriculum contains 1/3 general content (maths, German, languages, sport etc.) and 2/3 specific content (related to the occupation). The vocational school is based on framework curriculum aligned with training regulation. The exam take place under the oversight of the chambers who are responsible for their execution

Due to the two learning venue concept there are two different groups of VET staff: teachers are employed in various vocational schools, while in-company trainers are skilled workers in enterprises who provide apprentices with the knowledge and practical skills required for an occupation.


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