© Anton Hallmann

Dual vocational training is an attractive and successful training model with lots of potential for the future. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is currently not easy to match supply and demand on the training market. Against this backdrop, the partners of the ‘Alliance for Initial and Further Training’ have launched the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ initiative (#AusbildungSTARTEN) to promote this successful model among young people and companies from June to October 2021. Thematic days and a wide range of different events at Federal, Länder and regional level are to help raise awareness for the wide range of support services that exist. The common goal is to help as many young people as possible to start vocational training in a company in 2021.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said: “By launching the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ today, we as an Alliance are seeking to convince as many young people, their parents and companies as possible to conclude vocational training contracts for the 2021/2022 period. The COVID-19 crisis must not become a vocational training or skills crisis. Dual vocational training provides young people with opportunities and security for their future and allows companies to find the skilled labour they so urgently need.”

Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek said: “Under the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ initiative, the Federal Government, the Länder and the social partners are working together to help young people find the vocational training place that is right for them. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it a lot more difficult for young people to get a good idea of the careers and companies that are out there. We are now making up for this by presenting highly effective dual vocational training centres and by using innovative career guidance formats. By doing this we are hoping to convince young talent to opt for a dual vocational training place in 2021. I am convinced of the effectiveness of the dual vocational training system. It offers a forward-looking and hands-on alternative to university training for many young people.”

Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil said: “As part of our programme for the protection of vocational training places, we are working hard to safeguard every single training place on the market. For young people, getting a good start in their careers is key. They will become the skilled workforce of the future. This is why we are helping companies to continue to provide vocational training despite the current crisis and why we are trying to attract trainees and training providers through a wide range of event days.”

State Minister for Integration Annette Widmann-Mauz commented: “The dual vocational training system is a German trademark and opens up opportunities, particularly during difficult economic times. This is what this summer’s #AusbildungSTARTEN is about. It is important to provide all young people – no matter what their background – with the support they need to start vocational training and begin their working life. This not only helps young people provide for themselves but also invest in the future skills our companies so urgently need. The ‘diversity in dual vocational training’ event days are therefore making an important contribution to the strength of the German economy.”

The chairman of the Federal Employment Agency Detlef Scheele said: “I want to encourage young people to apply. In almost all sectors, there are more training places than applicants, so chances for entering the labour market are good despite the difficult times of this pandemic. Young people can contact our colleagues at the careers advice centres. It is easy to get in touch with us, you can call us or use the video chat, and we will provide you with support that is tailored to your individual needs. I would also like to call on employers to carry on providing vocational training despite all the challenges they are facing. If you are not investing in the skills of your workforce today, it will be very difficult for you to find skilled labour after the pandemic. In addition to our wide range of advisory and matching services, we will also host a number of thematic days as part of the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ initiative. By doing this we want to link up young people and businesses in an even more targeted manner and help match applicants and employers despite the extraordinary circumstances of this year.”

Britta Ernst, president of the Conference of Ministers for Education and Minister of Brandenburg for Education, Young People and Sports said: “By launching the #AusbildungStarten initiative, the partners of the Alliance for Initial and Further Training are sending a strong signal in favour of vocational training. I would like to encourage all those school leavers who are as yet undecided to make use of the wide range of vocational training opportunities in attractive and demanding occupations and see these as a promising route into professional life. Vocational training provides young people with everything they need for a successful career. It is a stepping-stone not only to higher-level qualifications but also to university training.”

Professor Andreas Pinkwart, chairman of the Conference of Ministers of Economic Affairs said: “We need to make sure the pandemic will not exacerbate the skills gap in Germany. I therefore very much welcome the fact that the Federal Government, the Länder, the business community and the social partners have launched the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ initiative as a joint effort to inspire young people to opt for dual vocational training. Well-trained employees are the basis for a robust economic development and help protect our competitiveness in the long term.”

Kristina Vogt, chairwoman of the Conference of Ministers for Labour and Social Affairs said: “We want to encourage young people to opt for dual vocational training in an attractive and demanding occupation. Vocational training provides young people with everything they need for a successful career later on because it will give them access to higher vocational qualifications and also university training. We are supporting and supplementing the activities undertaken as part of the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ within the context of our own activities and agreements together with the training partners at Länder level. Our focus is on providing good support both to apprentices and companies. By launching the #AusbildungStarten initiative, the partners of the Alliance for Initial and Further Training are sending a strong signal in favour of vocational training.”

Hans Peter Wollseifer, president of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) said: “Dual vocational training helps young people take up an occupation that is not only secure and demanding but also offers great upskilling and career opportunities across all forward-looking fields of work. This is particularly important in these times of uncertainty. Skilled workers that have completed initial or further dual vocational training are an essential element in shaping and delivering the energy and mobility transition, housing, smart home solutions, healthcare and much more. One of the strong points of dual vocational training is the individual support given to trainees during the programme – an attractive prospect for young people after the social distancing regulations imposed during the pandemic. By launching the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’, we really want to inspire young people to opt for vocational training, reassure them, ease their worries about the future and help them find the vocational training that is right for them.”

Elke Hannack, deputy chairperson of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) said: “The training market has not been left unscathed by the COVID pandemic. For the first time since German reunification, the number of vocational training contracts has fallen below 500,000, with the number of young people looking for a training place also in decline. We are calling on young people and companies to continue to take up or provide vocational training despite the difficult times we are living through. We can still see a lot of dynamism on the training market. Every training place is worth fighting for. Because failing to train young people today will result in a skills gap in three years time.”

More information on the ‘Summer of Vocational Training’ and the Alliance for Initial and Further Training can be found here.