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Learning within the work process

The aim of German vocational education and training is to create comprehensive employability skills - the ability to work autonomously. A combination of learning within the real work situation and school-based learning is the best way of developing the professional, methodological and social competence required to achieve this.

Active learning within the work process is considered to be the most effective and most efficient form of vocational education and training. Instead of engaging in mere theoretical exercises which are far removed from the realities of working life, trainees learn their occupations in authentic work situations with the support of their colleagues and other skilled workers. This enables them to learn on a step-by-step basis how to assume responsibility for tasks which are increasingly demanding and complex in their nature. The inherent danger of vocational training which is purely school-based is that a gulf may open up between training content and the actual requirements of working life. In acting as a learning venue, the company fulfils the crucial prerequisites for the development of employability skills.

The benefits at a glance:

  • In-company learning fosters knowledge and skills and promotes social and personal competence.
  • Participation in working life motivates trainees, improves learning outcomes and reduces drop-out numbers. This supports the social integration of young people.

Perspectives for cooperation:

Our experiences in practical and company related vocational training enable us to provide our partner countries with individual support in drawing up initial and continuing VET contents, methods and processes which are directly aligned towards and integrated within practical work procedures. The main focuses are on the training structures and provision of the companies. Consultancy and training services are, however, also directed at private and public sector school institutions. Making real work processes within companies the reference point for learning processes also allows a high degree of labour market relevance to be achieved within VET systems which are more school based.

Acceptance of national standards:
Inter-company occupational standards and uniform examination standards guarantee the quality of qualifications. Comparable training qualifications and certificates form the basis for employability, mobility and social acceptance and foster lifelong learning.

Qualifications need to be comparable. This provides workers with a high degree of mobility and enables companies to conduct efficient human resources recruitment. Standards create transparency on the educational and labour market, facilitate the further development of qualifications and permit cross-connections between educational pathways.

This is an area where Germany has much to offer. Established negotiating mechanisms between the state, trade and industry and civil society guarantee broad societal acceptance of standards. The parties work jointly on the drawing up of initial training profiles. Training regulations ensure that vocational education and training is of the same high quality in all companies, regions and schools. Trade and industry monitor compliance with the training regulations and take part in the conducting of examinations in conjunction with representatives from the employees and schools.

Within a European context, Germany ensures connectivity between its standards and the European Qualifications Framework.

The benefits at a glance:

  • Every company is guaranteed that skilled workers have standardised, generally recognised vocational qualifications regardless of the place and company at which they received training.
  • Inter-company quality standards enable companies to exchange staff via the labour market and reduce recruitment costs. This also reduces initial training and induction periods.
  • Transparency, permeability and equality of opportunity are increased for employees and those seeking employment, and access to the labour market is fostered.

Prospects for cooperation:

Many of the countries with which we cooperate are currently seeking to increase the transparency of their training systems and labour markets and to create frameworks for a clear qualifications system. The experiences in many partner countries demonstrate that Germany is a good partner to work with whose expertise extends beyond providing trade and industry with competent advice. Comparable standards secure regional mobility and thus generate employment and increases in productivity.