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© Delegation der Deutschen Wirtschaft in Kenia (AHK)

In Germany, companies successfully secure the skills they need for the future in the context of the dual vocational training system. In contrast, many countries worldwide build on vocational training models in schools and universities. Against this background, many German firms operating abroad are encountering difficulties in recruiting a sufficient number of qualified young staff – and this affects these companies' innovativeness and competitiveness in the long term.

Training workers abroad in line with German standards

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has launched the 'Skills Experts' programme so that German companies operating abroad can train the local workers they need in line with the dual vocational training system. The programme helps in particular small and medium-sized enterprises abroad to train local workers with intermediate-level qualifications in the context of needs-based practical training.

Skills experts are based at selected bilateral chambers of industry and commerce, helping them to establish vocational training activities that meet the needs of German companies. They thus make an important contribution towards promoting German trade and investment abroad and safeguarding the investments made by German firms. The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) as programme partner guarantees standards in the field of vocational training that are recognised worldwide and their certification in line with the German system. The competence centre for international vocational training of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK-KIBB) and its team of experts network all the German chambers of commerce abroad with vocational training activities, so that all the chambers can benefit from the expertise and introduce best practices.

Skills experts and bilateral chambers of industry and commerce – a strong team for the training of local workers

The establishment of active, local networks is indispensable for practical vocational training. Therefore the bilateral chambers of industry and commerce are serving as an important bridge for German firms, companies in the partner countries and national training providers. Owing to their close link with the chambers in Germany, which are responsible for vocational training pursuant to the Vocational Training Act and the Crafts Code, they are able to offer needs-based, high-quality vocational training services – in line with the German dual vocational training system. In the medium term, the aim is to provide self-financing services by the bilateral chambers of industry and commerce in the field of initial and further vocational training.

The Skills Experts Programme has existed since 2017 and helps roughly 10 bilateral chambers each year to build up sustainable vocational training structures (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam). By the end of 2022, seven more bilateral chambers (Chile, Ghana, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Kenya, Croatia and South Africa) will have been helped to implement dual vocational training courses for German firms and their local business partners.

The programme has proved to be an adequate and dependable tool to enable commerce-related dual vocational training for companies abroad. It is being expanded to include two new focuses from 2023.

From 2023, the focus will increasingly be placed not only on the establishment of basic structures for vocational training (at the chambers in Ghana, Japan, Singapore and the Baltics/Lithuania), but also on training courses of relevance to climate action and transformation – i.e. “green jobs” (at the chambers in Argentina, Chile, Nigeria and South Africa). Further to this, vocational training structures are to be developed on a pilot basis for training in the context of the immigration of skilled workers (chambers in Türkiye and Brazil / São Paulo).