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Federal ministries

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

The educational remit of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) encompasses all phases of life. The ministry’s area of responsibility spans everything from early-years support to continuing training and extends to include lifelong learning. Although schools and institutes of higher education are primarily the responsibility of the federal states, the Federal Government also provides important assistance via such vehicles as the Higher Education Pact, the granting of scholarships or the Alliance for Education. The BMBF acts in conjunction with the federal states in assuming responsibility for extra-school VET, training funding and continuing training. Its tasks also include international exchange in education and academic research. The BMBF is also generating new impetuses within the field of academic research and encouraging up-and-coming research talent via the Excellence Initiative and the Pact for Research and Innovation.

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Federal Foreign Office (AA)

The Federal Foreign Office represents the interests of Germany in the world. It promotes international exchange and offers protection and assistance to Germans abroad. The Federal Foreign Office maintains Germany’s relations with other countries and with international and supranational organisations via its headquarters in Berlin and a network of 229 missions abroad. The work performed goes beyond merely focusing on political contacts between governments and parliaments. Germany and German society are increasing becoming part of a network that operates at an international level, and the Federal Foreign Office promotes intensive interaction and exchange with the world in the fields of business, culture, science and technology, the environment, development issues and many more areas besides.

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Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)

Within the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) is responsible for labour market policy, employment law, health and safety at work, pensions and social security. The BMAS also promotes the participation of persons with a disability. It also pursues its objectives internationally, mainly within the European sphere.

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Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)

The important objectives pursued by the BMEL are balanced healthy nutrition via safe foodstuffs, clear consumer information with regard to the sale of groceries, strong and sustainable agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors and prospects for rural areas.
Projects within the framework of the EU Twinning Programme are being conducted in many federal states alongside other projects that form part of the BMEL’s Technical Cooperation Programme. Concepts aimed at providing support in the areas of diet, agriculture and consumer health protection are developed and implemented in line with demand.

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Federal Ministry of Health (BMG)

The central tasks of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) include the maintenance, securing and further development of the effectiveness of statutory health insurance and of long-term care insurance. Health protection, the combating of illness and disease and bio-medicine all form further main focuses of the ministry’s work.
Its remit also includes national, European and international health policy. Globalisation, tourism and the opening up of the borders to Germany’s eastern European neighbours mean that we need to act in conjunction with locally based partners in order to counter new risks and to tackle dangers prematurely believed to have been overcome.

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Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)

In its capacity as the state body that deals with constitutional and local government matters, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) is responsible for the modernisation of the state and of government administration and for other core issues related to national and federal regulation such as election law. The BMI’s spectrum of tasks also covers areas as diverse as voluntary work, political education, the promotion of sport, protection of the population, migration and integration. The demographic challenges facing the state and society form one particular main area of focus. The BMI coordinates the demographic strategy of the Federal Government and works in conjunction with the other federal departments, the federal states, local government bodies, the academic research community and trade and industry on concepts that take demographic change into account.

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Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

The essential role of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs is to shape and enhance the conditions that foster economic activity on the basis of personal and entrepreneurial freedom, competition and stability. The Ministry's legislative, administrative and coordinating functions in areas such as competition policy, European policy, SME policy, energy policy and external economic policy are all geared to this task.
Germany’s promotion of foreign trade is grounded in the principles of the market economy and the global economic system. The Federal Government supports the activities of German companies seeking to tap into and secure foreign markets.

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Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Devolopment (BMZ)

The BMZ develops guidelines and concepts for German development policy. It works with various stakeholders to determine long-term strategies for cooperation and defines the rules for the implementation of these strategies. This basic policy work subsequently provides the foundation for the development of joint projects with the partner countries involved in German development cooperation and with international organisations active in the field of development policy.
One of the ten objectives of the BMZ is the clear stipulation that vocational training should continue to be expanded. Rather than for such a process to be implemented in isolation, however, the aim is for it to take place in conjunction with other educational measures and together with other fields of development policy work such as sustainable economic development, the protection of the environment and resources and rural development.

Further information

Federal states (Laender)

Conference of the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Länder (WMK)

The Conference of the Ministers of Economic Affairs is an important instrument for economic policy cooperation between the federal states themselves. It enables the mutual exchange of information and experiences and also serves the purpose of facilitating the stipulation of joint policy action within the federal state remit or vis-à-vis the Federal Government via the adoption of resolutions.

Further information (only available in German)

Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder (KMK)

  • A voluntary consortium of the ministers or senators of the federal states with responsibility for education, teaching, research and cultural affairs
  • The KMK addresses educational, higher education, research and cultural policy issues of supraregional significance with the aim of forming a joint view and intention and of providing representation for common objectives.
  • A federal state instrument for joint federal state cooperation in European and international education and cultural policy
  • Support for committee work via the KMK Secretariat
  • Further services provided by:
    • the Office for Foreign Education (ZAB), the main body for information on and evaluation of foreign qualifications in Germany,
    • the Pedagogical Exchange Service (PAD), which in its capacity as the Nationale Agency for EU School Programmes offers both information and advice on Erasmus+

Further information

Institutions with links to government bodies, Federal Government implementation bodies, associations, agencies and companies

Federal Employment Agency (BA)

  • A directly controlled Federal Government corporation in the form of an entity under public law, responsible for the administration of the German unemployment insurance system
  • Comprehensive service tasks for the labour and training market
  • A nationwide network of employment agencies and offices
  • Main tasks: placement in training places and jobs; vocational guidance; employer guidance; promotion of vocational education and training; promotion of continuing vocational training; promotion of the occupational integration of persons with a disability; services for the maintenance and creation of jobs and benefits in lieu of income such as unemployment benefit and insolvency payments

Further information 

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

  • A directly controlled Federal Government institute in the form of an entity under public law subject to the legal supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a Centre of Excellence for research into and further development of initial and continuing vocational education and training in Germany
  • Identification of future tasks
  • Promotion of innovation in vocational education and training, both nationally and internationally
  • Development of new practically oriented solutions
  • Policy consultancy in Germany and abroad

Further information

Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA)

  • Socio-political umbrella organisation for the whole of German trade and industry actively representing the interests of around one million voluntarily affiliated companies
  • Involvement in committees at a national, European and international level, in expert hearings and in the self-administrative organs of the social insurance sector. Acts as a coordinator and advisor in the collective wage agreement negotiations of member associations and as an intermediary in public debate
  • Contact partner for its members, the public, the Federal Government and the Federal Parliament in all issues relating to social and wage agreement policy, employment law, the labour market, human resources and social policy including at a European and international level

Further information

Bundesverband Berufsbildungsexport e.V. (BV-BBE)

  • A lobbying organisation primarily comprising small and medium-sized education and training institutions
  • The BV-BBE’s aim is the worldwide promotion of training “Made in Germany” and to act in close conjunction with the public sector to expand such training into a dedicated brand
  • Creation of appropriate marketing structures

Further information

The Voice of German Industry (BDI)

  • An umbrella organisation which is responsible for the identification and promotion of all issues emerging from the branches of industry represented in the BDI and which conveys the interests of German industry to those with policymaking responsibility
  • A broad network extending across Germany and Europe and with a presence in all important markets and in international organisations
  • The BDI supports companies within the worldwide competitive environment, ensures political back-up for entry into international markets and provides information and economic policy advice on all topics of relevance to the industrial sector.

Further information

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

  • The largest support organisation in the world for the international exchange of students and academic researchers
  • Sponsored by the German institutes of higher education and student bodies
  • Fosters internationalisation of German institutes of higher education
  • Strengthens study of Germany and of the German language abroad
  • Support for developing countries in the establishment of effective institutes of higher education and consultancy services for decision makers in the fields of educational, external research and development policy

Further information    

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

  • A federal company that supports the Federal Government to achieve its goals in international cooperation for sustainable development
  • Policy advice and assistance in the implementation of specific projects for improvement
  • Supporting the effectiveness and market orientation of vocational education and training systems
  • Training provision in accordance with the needs of trade and industry
  • Tailored services for sustainable development

Further information

German Trade Union Confederation (DGB)

  • The German Confederation of Trade Unions is an umbrella organisation that acts as the voice of trade unions vis-à-vis political decision-makers, parties and associations at a Federal Government, federal state and local government level.
  • Coordination of trade union activities.
  • Education and vocational education and training are central policy fields of the DGB and its member trade unions.
  • Commitment to a modern educational system and to equal opportunities from nursery school to continuing training

Further information

Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK e.V.)

  • Umbrella organisation of the 80 German Chambers of Industry and Commerce.
  • Acts as a lobbying body for German trade and industry vis-à-vis Federal Government policy decision makers and the European institutions.
  • Organisation of dual training programmes in private sector commercial and technical occupations and in the field of language learning. Worldwide representation via German Chambers of Industry and Commerce abroad (AHKs), which are present at 130 locations in 90 countries.
  • Support with the training of skilled workers for member companies abroad.
  • Advisory services for foreign governments and institutions in line with requirements

Further information

Didacta Verband

  • An educational sector association which represents the interests of more than 230 companies and organisations involved with the production of teaching and learning materials nationally and internationally
  • Acts on behalf of its members in displaying a commitment to the use of high-quality teaching and learning materials and to ensuring that all learning venues have the amenities and equipment they need
  • Active participation in debates on the further development of educational systems
  • Informs the general public of important developments in educationally related issues

Further information 

Don Bosco Mondo e.V.

  • NGO’s supporting the work of the Salesian Priests of Don Bosco are in place across the world (in more than 130 countries).
  • Facilitating non-formal access to vocational education and training in more than 90 countries via the maintenance of centres of school and vocational education and of youth welfare services.
  • Close and practically oriented cooperation with local trade and industry.
  • Work placement services and business start-up programmes.

Further information 

The German Education Union (GEW)

  • A team of over 270,000 women and men who work in the education professions and in academic research in schools, nursery school, institutes of higher education and other pedagogical institutions
  • A trade union based lobbying organisation for its members
  • International commitment to education and human rights
  • Active involvement in the European Trade Union Committee for Education

Further information  


  • A Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) initiative for the internationalisation of German initial and continuing training services and for the development of international markets
  • Target group: in particular small and medium-sized companies in the initial and continuing training sector
  • Preparatory services and support for education and training service providers seeking to access foreign markets
  • Arrangement of potential customers and cooperation partners

Further information

Institute for International Cooperation of the German Association of Adult Education Centres (dvv international)

The Institute for International Cooperation of the German Association of Adult Education Centres is an organisation run by the Federal Association representing the 16 federal state associations of adult education centres in Germany:

  • Financing predominantly from public funding
  • A specialist adult education organisation that operates at a global level to support the establishment and expansion of youth and adult education structures in developing and emerging countries
  • Exchange of information and the establishment of a specialist dialogue on adult education and development at a European level and worldwide

Further information

KfW Banking Group (German government-owned development bank)

  • Acting on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for more than 30 years
  • Support for sustainable improvements in living conditions in developing and emerging countries (social, economic, ecological)
  • Funding provision in areas such as vocational training for private individuals
  • Involvement of the private sector of the economy and of the private training sector

Further information

sequa GmbH

  • A development organisation that operates worldwide, a not-for-profit company founded by the DIHK, ZDH, BDA, BDI and GIZ and financed via both public and private funding
  • Advisory services for decision makers
  • Design of projects and programmes
  • Placement of experts
  • Training for skilled/professional workers and management staff
  • Promotion of the private sector within the scope of the social market economy

Further information 

Senior Expert Service (SES)

  • The SES is a foundation established by German Trade and Industry for International Cooperation (a consortium of the BDA, BDI, DIHK and ZDH)
  • Helps people to help themselves by using the services of volunteer specialists (so-called “senior experts”) who have ended their active professional life (nationally and internationally)
  • Over 25,000 deployments in 160 countries and in over 50 branches since the establishment of the SES in 1983

Further information

German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH)

  • Umbrella trade and industry organisation bundling together the work of 53 chambers of crafts and trades, 48 specialist craft trade associations at federal level and other significant business and other institutions in the craft trades sector in Germany.
  • Represents the overall interests of the craft trades sector vis-à-vis Parliament, the Federal Government and other central government authorities, the European Union (EU) and international organisations.
  • Implementation of national and international training projects on the public behalf.
  • Network of partnerships with comparable organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and in developing countries.
  • The Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH) acts as a service institution for all craft trades training centres.

Further information

Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA)

  • Funding and assistance to more than 140 German schools abroad and to 870 national schools where the German Language Certificate (DSD) of the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany can be acquired.
  • Close coordination with the Federal Foreign Office and the federal states.
  • Pedagogical and administrative advisory services to German schools and educational establishments abroad and support with the establishment of a quality management system.
  • Acquisition, selection and placement of teaching staff for deployment at German schools abroad and within the public educational system.
  • Establishment of structures for international cooperation

Further information