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Legal framework and financing of the German dual VET system

© Elena Romanov - iStock.com

The legal framework and the financing of the German dual vocational system is based on a long tradition and includes various parties who are involved in this framework.

Legal Framework of the dual system

The German Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG)) and the German Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (Handwerksordnung (HwO)) form the legal framework for the development of the German TVET system. All parties involved act consensus-oriented according this framework. These two instruments set out fundamental standards for the company-based part of dual VET, including creation of the general conditions that apply to aspects such as vocational training and the examination system. The central element within the system is the training regulation prescribed by the BBiG/HwO. These are enacted for every state recognised training occupation by the relevant ministry responsible.

The training regulations have a central role in the Vocational Training Act. They form the framework for regulating the occupations. A training regulation regulates (article 5 paragraph 1 BBiG)

  • the designation of the training occupation,
  • the duration of the training – which shall be not less than two and not more than three years,
  • the description of the training occupation – the typical “skills, knowledge and capabilities” of the profession in summary form,
  • the framework training curriculum – a guide to how the teaching of skills, knowledge and capabilities is to be structured in terms of content and time,
  • the examination requirements.

These provisions describe the minimum requirements for a modern course of training. They define the standards, i.e. the currently indispensable skills, knowledge and capabilities of a qualified specialist, as well the scope of his or her practical activity in order to be able to integrate additional qualifications as well as hitherto unforeseeable future developments in education and training.

The Board of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) is the advisory board for the central government in all issues relating to vocational education and training.

VET Glossary

Board of the BIBB

The Board is the advisory body of the German government in all issues relating to vocational education and training. The BIBB Board includes representatives of the employers, the trade unions, the federal states and the Federal Government, all of whom have equal voting rights.

Source: BIBB, Germany

VET Glossary

Training occupation

„Ausbildungsberuf“ is a German term which usually is translated by the term "training occupation". It means a scientific, social and labour market-based construct and a category of order agreed by consensus between the social partners and the state. With the help of "Ausbildungsberufe" the selection and bundling of activities and the associated necessary qualifications is carried out. Mastery of the work tasks combined in a "Ausbildungsberuf" is the objective of the respective vocational training ("professional competence to act")

Source: IAB

VET Glossary

Training regulation

There are currently around 330 training occupations in Germany that enjoy national state recognition. For all training occupations, there are training regulations that stipulate in a binding fashion what must be learned within the respective occupation. This provides trainers with an overview of all contents that they need to impart to their trainees during training. Company owners obtain the relevant training regulations from the chamber responsible for their company.

The aim of the training regulations is to ensure that all trainees receive good professional training with comparable contents, regardless of the company in which such training takes place. This enables them to apply for jobs anywhere at a later date, and company owners also know precisely what applicants have learned. The regulations provide state-recognised occupations with a structure. The aim wherever possible is for each trainee to learn the fundamental principles of an occupation before going on to acquire the respective technical knowledge and gather initial professional experience.
The training regulations include the

  • title of the training occupation,
  • duration of training (two, three, or three and a half years),
  • the minimum skills, competencies and knowledge that trainees should acquire (training profile),
  • the content and time structure of training (general training plan) and
  • the examination requirements.

The general training plan forms the basis for the company training plan, which parties providing training are required to draw up for their trainees and submit to the chamber responsible together with the training contract.

The learning contents stipulated by the training regulations constitute minimum requirements. It may be in the company’s interests to teach their trainees more, such as company-specific knowledge or special skills. In addition, the company providing training may amend its plan during training for operational reasons.
After all, it is not always possible to plan three years in advance.

Source: Jobstarter

VET Glossary

Crafts and Trades Regulation Code

Membership to the skilled craft sector in Germany is not regulated via the company size or turnover, but by law. The Trade and Crafts Code determines which occupations are part of the crafts sector. Annex A lists all the occupations, for which a master craftsperson’s examination is a prerequisite for self-employment. Legislator demands a master craftsperson’s examination or comparable qualification for occupations that are particularly hazardous and/or require special training. Annex B1 lists all other skilled craft occupations for which a master craftsperson’s examination can be taken voluntarily. So-called ‘craft-like trades’ are listed in Annex B2.

Source: ZDH

Learn more about the term German use of the term occupation

VET Glossary

Vocational Training Act

The German Vocational Training Act (BBiG) regulates vocational training preparation, vocational education and training (the dual system), advanced vocational training and vocational retraining. It thus forms the basis for company-based training.

The BBiG entitles companies to take responsibility for conducting vocational education and training, i.e. they are permitted to recruit and train trainees. The law stipulates the prerequisites and conditions for training within the companies. The BBiG applies to training in trade and industry, in the public sector and in the liberal professions. It covers only a few aspects of training in the craft trades sector, which is largely governed by the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code. Nevertheless, the provisions contained within the Crafts and Trades Regulations Code largely equate to those of the BBiG. All areas of training that come under the auspices of the company providing training are governed via the BBiG.

Vocational school teaching is regulated by the educational laws of the federal states. Harmonisation between the Federal Government and federal states takes place in various committees in order to avoid conflicts in training caused by different laws.
The most important regulations contained within the Vocational Training Act relate to the following aspects.

  • Contents of the training contract
  • Requirements regarding the suitability of companies and Trainers
  • The duty of a company to pay a training allowance
  • The rights and responsibilities of parties providing training and of Trainees
  • The necessity of training regulations to enable training to take place as planned
  • The conducting of examinations
  • The right of the trainee to receive a company reference at the end of Training
  • The organisation and monitoring of company-based training by the Chambers
  • Each training occupation has training regulations which set out the contents of the respective training in detail.

Source: Jobstarter

Financing of the dual system

Figure „Financing of vocational education and training in Germany“Source: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (ed): "Dual vocational education and training made visible", Bonn 2017. p. 31.

The system of dual vocational education and training exerts far-reaching effects in macro-economic and labour market policy terms. One example of this is the fact that a major contribution towards the financing of the system is made by the companies providing training themselves, and the resultant low level of youth unemployment means that a very small burden is placed on the social systems.

Alongside the investments made by the companies in securing a supply of up-and-coming skilled workers and in providing training to young people, other participants in the complex financing system include the public purse (the federal states, the Federal Government, the Federal Employment Agency) and the trainees themselves. The contribution made by the trainees in this regard primarily comprises lost income due to the fact that the allowance received during training is lower than payment made to an unskilled or semi-skilled worker. It is difficult to place a financial figure on this contribution.

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