Lack of stamina?

11th of March 2013
Lack of stamina?

Vocational education in Germany has two components: the company provisions offer a national standard of on-the-job-training, in conjunction with part-time vocational school. Thomas Schulte-Marxloh reports.

Most of the programmes in this dual system take three years and the majority of participants work as skilled workers after completion. But in 2011 almost 25 per cent of all apprentices in Germany quitted their on-the-job-training. According to the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung - BiBB) and its recently published Federal Report on Vocational Education and Training, the rate of prematurely dissolved training contracts (150,000) rose to 24.4 per cent – the highest rate since the economic boom after
Germany’s reunification.

About 50,000 training con-tracts were dissolved at the probation stage. However there are differences in terms of regions and occupations. While, for instance, at least 44.3 per cent of all apprentices in the contract cleaning industry left their company, only 3.7 per cent of administrative secretaries had the desire to leave. Also more than 90 per cent of electronic technicians, bankers and carpenters complete their vocational education.

Apart from regional differences graduation seems to be important as well; compared to 38.8 per cent of apprentices without a Certificate of Secondary Education who quit, only 13.6 per cent of the trainees who gained a university entrance diploma aborted their vocational education. The BiBB notes a significant correlation between good market conditions and the high rate of terminated contracts.

In other words: if they have the choice, juveniles dissolve their training contracts more easily as they hope to find either a company with better work conditions or an occupation that suits them better. Additionally, in some eastern regions of Germany a lack of apprentices is already noticeable which, again, means a greater choice for apprentices.

It remains, however, uncertain why the rate of dissolved training contracts has been rising that high – from about 14 per cent in the 80s to about 25 per cent today. Is there a correlation to the increasing age of apprentices, do they have more self-confidence, are they more sceptical? Comments online reveal the public opinion: some say conditions in some industries are too hard, some say the spoiled kids of today have no stamina anymore.

However the reasons for quitting training contracts have not been researched, at least not by the BiBB. The institute believes them to be “multifaceted and sometimes complex”: they may vary from changed professional aims or conflicts with other trainees or trainers to the shutdown of an establishment or health issues. Nevertheless the termination of a training contract does not mean a complete end to vocational training and education.

More than 50 per cent of them have already concluded a new contract within the VET scheme, says the BiBB. The president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry,

Hans Heinrich Driftman, believes many of the ‘quitters’ continue their education in another company or choose another occupation and emphasises that the Chambers of Commerce and Industry were happy to support a new beginning: “Bearing in mind the lack of skilled workers, commerce strongly supports these young people for a completion within the dual system in a second turn.”


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