German Government steps up international engagement in the dual system of vocational training

23.03.2017 - Press release

Conference on international vocational training paints positive picture/Vocational training abroad, however, often not granted due recognition

Many countries are struggling with the consequences of high youth unemployment and the shortage of skilled workers. Improving vocational education is therefore a political focus in these countries. The German vocational training system is regarded as a successful model throughout the world and the demand for cooperation with Germany is growing steadily.

The German Government’s strategy is to interlink the activities of the four federal ministries involved in international vocational training. This has been successful and the German Government now intends to further expand its long-standing engagement. This was the decision taken by the Federal Education Ministry, the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Economics Ministry and the Federal Development Ministry at a conference held in Berlin today.

Each of the ministries involved has increased its own contribution to cooperation on vocational training during the last few years.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is gradually expanding its strategic partnerships with industrialised countries and emerging economies in order to foster training courses which can serve as a model as well as strategy projects between the social partners.

By promoting German chambers of commerce abroad, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has created a platform for the dual system of vocational training based on the German model.

The Federal Foreign Office organises round tables at numerous German missions abroad on coordinating the various activities, exchanging experiences as well as ensuring a unified strategy in host countries.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development fosters the development of efficient vocational training systems in developing countries and emerging economies.

“We advise states both within and outside Europe on how vocational training can take place not only in schools but also in companies”, said Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the Education Ministry. “The aim is to establish the principle of in-company training in the education system of partner countries, to involve companies and to give them responsibility for training young people.”

Dirk Wiese, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: “Industry needs qualified workers. That’s why we are getting our worldwide network of German chambers of commerce abroad involved in cooperation on vocational training. Through skills experts, we are helping German and local companies to provide demand-oriented in-company training for young people locally.”

Maria Böhmer, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, stated: “The dual training principle offers great advantages. It raises training standards and boosts a country’s economic performance. The dual system opens up to young people new career options, a wider range of vocational prospects and a greater chance of social and economic participation. Through our engagement in vocational training, we are making an important contribution towards stabilising societies and cultures.”

Dr Friedrich Kitschelt, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development said: “Vocational training is an outstanding hallmark of our development policy. Well-trained workers, who master their professions and their lives with their hearts, minds and hands are key to sustainable development. We have again massively expanded vocational training during this legislative term and on average invest more than 75 million euros annually in the training of young people in developing countries. Around two million people have gained vocational qualifications during the last few years as a result of this. In Tunisia alone, 12,500 men and women were able to greatly improve their chances on the labour market. ”

International bodies are also attaching greater importance to promoting vocational training. It is anchored in several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This issue is also receiving more attention at G20 summits. Germany shares its expertise and is taking on responsibility.

Many challenges remain: in many partner countries the inclusion of companies and the social partners in vocational training is still inadequate, as companies, chambers of commerce or trade unions are traditionally not involved in training young people. The German Government’s advisory strategy therefore places considerable importance on involving companies and the social partners in shaping vocational training.

Moreover, the image of vocational training is not good in many partner countries and often compares unfavourably to that of a university education. Even when politicians regard the dual system of vocational education as a good model, more has to be done to convince young people, parents and employers.

The German Government’s international engagement is supporting the efforts of partner countries to expand and improve their training systems as well as to enhance the employability of young people. It is thus helping to tackle the causes which lead people to leave their home regions or migrate.

Support is provided to German companies which operate internationally to help them train their skilled workforce locally. Finally, German vocational training also benefits from the experiences of other countries and through learning together gains impetus for the further development of the German system.

The German Government’s strategy ensures that German players involved in vocational training abroad speak with one voice. GOVET was set up as a central point of contact for international cooperation in vocational training and is much used both nationally and internationally.

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