Around €18 billion from their own pocket

BIBB analysis of the costs and benefits of continuing vocational training

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For many people, their own continuing vocational training is very important. This is illustrated in an analysis conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB). According to the analysis, with spending of almost €18 billion a year, participants contribute significantly to financing their continuing vocational training. Employers are also actively involved in the topic of continuing training. They fund the vast majority of continuing training courses, and they support the continuing training courses themselves if the knowledge delivered can also be useful for other employers. Those participating in continuing training regard upgrading training and formal training courses as being of most benefit.

For the first time since 2002, the BIBB analysis once again provides a comprehensive overview of the cost and benefits of continuing vocational training for participants in Germany. According to this, each person paid an average of €381 themselves to cover the costs in the reference year of 2015. This is equivalent to almost 1% of the average gross annual income of a person in full-time employment in 2015. The majority of funding provided by the individual went on formal training courses and upgrading training. These activities, which are often long-term and costly, are co-financed comparatively infrequently by the employer.

Participants also spent an average of 128 hours of their free time on continuing vocational training activities. In addition to the time for the continuing training itself, this also includes time for preparation and follow-up work, organisation, travel, and exam preparation. This aspect plays a significant role when it comes to personal stress. In fact, participants regarded themselves as suffering greater stress more as a result of the time commitment than the financial cost, i.e. as a result of the loss of free time and the time-related bottlenecks involved in continuing training activities. Stress due to the learning or examination situation is also very prevalent.

The BIBB analysis also examined which subjective benefits participants take from their continuing training — in other words, the contribution which the continuing training activities make to satisfying the needs of the individual person. The analysis shows that the two most important dimensions from the perspective of the participants are enjoying work and the hoped for financial security as a result of the continuing training. The need for meaningful activity, social contact and influence are also given high priority. Participants benefit from formal training courses and upgrading training with regard to their overall needs structure — this includes material needs. In contrast, non-formal continuing training impacts primarily on the sense of purpose and enjoyment at work.

Further information is available in the new issue of BIBB REPORT, issue 2/2018: “Continuing vocational training”. Costs and benefits for individuals - results of BIBB survey”. This issue is available to download free of charge from the internet at (German only).

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