Vocational Training in Germany : has developed a specialized dual program for providing vocational training in various courses. The program involves two days of study at the vocational school, where the students are given theoretical knowledge about their future employment and for the remaining three to four days they are sent every week to any organization to provide first hand vocational training of practical skills required at the work. This practice allows the students to learn over 356 types of vocational skills such as assistant to doctor, nurses, optician, or builder. There are definite and strict national standards that regulate the teaching of precise skills and theory. For example, for the course of industrial manager the apprentice has to study planning, controlling, marketing, trade laws, accounting etc.
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Basic Elements of Dual Education System
The basic foundation of the dual system of vocational training and education is a combination of learning and working. The system pursues to impart knowledge along with practice, and teach structured theory and active skills in proper context. There are two different sites involved in the process-
- The Learning Environment: The School
- The Vocational Training Environment: The Company
Both of these offer similar yet different experiences. The school provides theoretical knowledge on the other hand, the company offers development of practical skills.
Duration of the Vocational training in Germany
The duration of the dual course can be from two to three years depending upon the type of course and level of knowledge of the apprentice. During the vocational training, the apprentice receives an allowance from the company where they go for training. The average allowance is about $650 monthly, depending upon the work field. After completing their course, the students are often immediately taken up by the companies permanently as a technical worker. Moreover, there are many opportunities of growth and promotion if the apprentice performs well in his/her work.
Qualifications for Vocational training in Germany
There are several different pathways that can be undertaken in the dual structure. Full- time schooling gets compulsory for children above 6 years of age. The schooling is nine years long after which the young students have an option to either continue... ...their studies further or go for part-time vocational school for three years. In simple words, German kids attend schools from ages 6 to 18 and can start vocational training after 18 years of age only.
The school education starts with four years of primary education and then two years of secondary education. The secondary education is diversified into four branches-
- Hauptschule– modern school
- Realschule- secondary school
- Gymnasium– grammar school
- Gesamtschule– comprehensive school
Dual system accepts students from all of the above schools.
Any school leaving qualification is not required for vocational training. The companies themselves decide the selection criteria for trainees. Different companies have different requirements. However, they may also look into your achievements and grades.
Some of the internships have certain age requirements, you can check with the Federal Employment Agency.
The site is published in German-language and you can search for any information related to the profession at the portal.
The evaluation procedure for vocational training begins half-way through the training period. It tests the knowledge gained by the students till that time. The marks of the mid-term exams are not added in the final exams. Both the exams (mid-terms and finals) are conducted by small trade business group and department of commerce and industry. The examination held for the trainees is traditionally termed as the “Journeyman’s Test”- Gesellenprufung.
Courses offered in Dual System
Graduates can elect the occupation of their own choice. The most common types of vocation selected by the students are hairdressing, retail trading, business specialist, and motor vehicle mechanics.
The graduates of realschule (secondary schools) mostly opt for business specialist in streams like trade, commerce, physics etc.
The school-leavers with university certificate mostly opt for banking, business specialist, foreign trading, industrial production, sales, and wholesale trading.
Strengths of Vocational Training in Germany
- The roots of vocational training are deeply embedded in German education system. The dual system of vocational training provides a broad range of qualifications and professions that are flexible and quickly adapt according to the change in needs of the market.
- The dual vocational system is highly well-developed and integrates schooling with work-based learning and prepares students for a successful change from education to full-time employment.
- One of the major strengths of the dual system is engagement on behalf of employers and other companies. The system is regularly checked and balanced at all levels, national, municipal, state, and company, that certifies that the requirements of employers are not distorted by educational and economic goals.
- The vocational training system is well-resourced and combines the funding from both the sectors, public and private. Germany has continued with strong financial support and has retained the traineeship offer for the vocational training system even in the crisis.