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.

In-company trainers are defined as internal trainers (employed by the company) who provide internal training (training organised and carried out in and/or by the company for their staff) and support learning of adults (CVET) in non-formal and informal learning environments within the company.

Source: CEDEFOP (SME) 2015, Europe


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

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

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.