In Germany the term “competent body” is a legally set expression for the organisations that support and monitor the provision of in-company training. For most dual training occupations the chambers are the competent bodies. The Federal State takes over responsibilities in steering and modernizing the system. 

The responsibility for dual VET lies with the Federal Government for the in-company training and with the Federal States regarding the part-time vocational schools. The social partners are involved in decision-making on all levels. The roles of the stakeholders are described under Stakeholder Cooperation.

The state has transferred the task to monitor the in-company training to the competent bodies. The Vocational Education and Training Act (2005) lists the competent bodies. They include the different chambers such as the chambers of crafts and trades, the chambers of industry and commerce, the chambers of agriculture, chambers of lawyers, patent attorneys and notaries (section 71 of VET Act).

The chambers of commerce and trade and the chambers of skilled crafts supervise the majority of dual training conducted in Germany. They are organized in a regional structure. Their umbrella organisations are the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and the German Confederation of Chambers of Skilled Crafts (DHKT, part of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts).

All companies in a particular sector are compulsory, dues-paying members of the relevant chamber. The chambers run vocational training committees (Section 77 of the VET Act). Decisions are made by a General Assembly elected by all members of the chamber. The public service and religious organisations governed by public law have their own competent bodies.

According to the Vocational Training Act, the competent bodies have the following tasks. They

  • supervise vocational training preparation, vocational training and retraining,
  • maintain the directory of apprenticeships (in the skilled crafts, this is the “Apprentices’ Register”),
  • employ training counsellors that advise the enterprises in all training issues,
  • run a register of trained training staff, take the exam for the aptitude of the training staff,
  • assess the quality of the training facility,
  • conduct the intermediate and final examinations or journeyman examinations and
  • monitor and support mobility period abroad of apprentices and learners.