Press release

Continuing vocational training – Soft skills increasingly important

06/2009 | Bonn, 05.02.2009

The importance of multidisciplinary skills (so-called soft skills) in continuing vocational training is growing noticeably. According to a study conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), the share of enterprises which consider it particularly important that their employees have social competence will increase from currently 30% to 40% in the future. This figure increased from 20% to 26% for personal competence and from 13% to 19% for methodological competence. Technical competence continues to rank the highest at currently 77%. According to the firms surveyed however, the importance of technical competence in continuing vocational training field will decline slightly (to 75%) in the future. The findings from this BIBB study have been published in the latest issue (7/2009) of BIBB REPORT.

The BIBB survey also gathered data for the first time on the question of which forms of learning that companies offer for continuing vocational training are best for fostering employees' soft skills. According to this data, firms feel that 'internal training courses' foster personal competence the most. Social competence is best fostered through the use of 'job rotation' and/or 'exchange programmes'. Companies value 'learning circles and/or quality circles', 'job rotation' and 'instruction and/or induction courses' the most for improving methodological competence.

The current findings from the supplementary national survey of more than 300 enterprises which BIBB conducted with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research bear out the findings of earlier European studies on continuing vocational training in enterprises (CVTS = Continuing Vocational Training Survey). A comparison conducted by BIBB of the European CVTS surveys from 1999 and 2005 confirms the growing importance of soft skills in continuing vocational training not only in Germany but in all other countries in Western and Northern Europe as well. For example, the share of hours spent attending continuing vocational training in the area of 'personal development, quality management, work techniques, cooperation training and negotiation skills' increased from 12% to 16%. During the same period however, participation in training courses on the subject of 'EDP, computer science and computer use' fell from 17% to 11% on average in Europe.

The latest issue of BIBB REPORT, Issue 7/2009, on continuing vocational training in Germany can be downloaded free of charge from the BIBB web site at www.bibb.de/bibbreport

Point of contact for further information at BIBB: