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VET Glossary
VET Glossary

Terms of the German VET system

The glossary is a source for terms and definitions which are used in the field of vocational education and training. Emphasis is placed on its usage in the context of the German dual system. The VET Glossary is a work in progress and updated and expanded on an ongoing basis.

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

A document issued by the authority to individuals who were assessed as competent in a single unit or cluster of related units of competency.

Source: TESDA 2010, Philippines

A final exam which is performed by the chambers completes the apprenticeship. Upon passing the final examination, apprentices receive a chamber certificate (or a journeyman certificate in the case of a craft trades occupation) to document that training has been successfully completed. This certifies that they are in possession of employability skills in one of the state-recognised occupations.

Trainees can request that the result of their vocational school achievements will be listed on the chamber certificate. At the student's request, the certificate must also be accompanied by a translation into English and French by the competent authority/chamber. Cross-border applications and mobility are to be promoted by this. The final examination is free of charge for the trainees.

In-company trainers shall also issue a certificate to their apprentices at the end of the training relationship, indicating the nature, duration and objective of the vocational training and the vocational skills, knowledge and abilities acquired by the apprentice.

Source: BIBB and BMBF

Company-based trainers (cf. also in-company trainers) are responsible for the time and content planning and implementation of company-based vocational education and training. Only those who are personally and professionally suitable are permitted to act as trainers. In specific terms, this means that

  • everyone is initially viewed as being personally suitable, provided that their unsuitability has not been established. Persons are deemed to be lacking in suitability if they have been shown to have come into conflict with the law as a result of certain offences or have committed a serious breach of the Vocational Training Act or of its subsequent provisions.
  • In addition, trainers are required to be professionally suited to their role. This means that they themselves must have mastery of the occupational skills they are seeking to impart to the young people. Professional suitability is normally deemed to be given if trainers are in possession of a relevant recognised vocational qualification or hold a degree from a university of applied sciences or institute of higher education. Professional suitability may also be acquired if no vocational qualification is held. This normally necessitates demonstrating relevant professional experience of at least six years.
  • Trainers are also required to have some understanding of the planning and execution of a training programme and of how to manage young people. This area is referred to as vocational teaching aptitude. The occupational and vocational teaching knowledge that trainers are required to display is set out in the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude. Such knowledge may be acquired at a trainer seminar.

All those wishing to act as trainers in a craft trades occupation listed in Annex A of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code are subject to a special condition in that they normally need to hold a master craftsman qualification. The Trainer Aptitude Examination is included within the master craftsman examination. Those who are in possession of a master craftsman qualification may, therefore, act as trainers without any requirement to sit a further examination.

Major companies frequently employ full-time trainers whose sole task is the provision of company-based training. These trainers look after large groups of trainees. At smaller companies, employees take on training tasks alongside their main work duties. Such staff are referred to as part-time trainers. Regardless of the occupational tasks they perform, trainers always act as the point of contact for trainees. This means that trainees refer any professional questions or major and minor problems to trainers.

Many training contents are imparted by other skilled workers within the company. These employees are referred to as training instructors. Training instructors also need to have the necessary professional knowledge and the ability to teach young people. Despite the co-responsibility of many parties within the training process, overall responsibility is borne by trainers.

Every company-based training programme has a competent body. For most occupations, this is either the chambers of commerce and industry or the chambers of crafts and trades. These bodies ensure that training is only carried out by persons who are suitable, i.e. are in possession of the skills stated above.

Source: Jobstarter

(In-company training):  The portion of the dual training system program where students/trainees receive practical learning by being integrated in the regular work system of an establishment.

Source: TESDA 2010, Philippines

c.f. also the dual system in the German VET system

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

These are institutions which are in charge of supervising VET provision at a regional level. They include professional chambers as well as various federal and state authorities. Their tasks are: ensuring the suitability of training centres; monitoring training in enterprises; advising enterprises, trainers and apprentices; establishing and maintaining lists of training contracts; organizing the exam system and holding final exams. Each competent body has a tripartite vocational training committee whose members represent employers, trade unions and teachers. These committees must be informed and consulted on all important VET issues and decide on regulations for implementing VET.

Source: CEDEFOP, Country report Germany 2016

The number of years or age span during which children are legally obliged to attend school.

Source: UNESCO UIS 2013, Global

Education or training after initial education or entry into working life aimed at helping individuals to improve or update their knowledge and/or skills, acquire new skills for a career move or retraining, or continue their personal and professional development.

Source: NCVER 2013, Australia

The German system of continuing vocational education and training can be defined as follows: Vocational further training generally requires a completed apprenticeship and/or appropriate relevant professional experience. The vocational training should open up the possibility for people to maintain their professional capacity in their current position/occupation (further training) (Anpassungsfortbildung) or to expand their professional capacity for professional advancement (advanced training) (Austiegsfortbildung).
There are thus two forms of continuing vocational training in the German system: further continuing training (receiving and adapting) and advanced continuing training (expanding and career advancement).

Source: BIBB (German)

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

A detailed description of the objectives, content, duration, expected outcomes, learning and training methods of an education or training programme.

Source: ILO 2006, Global