The apprenticeship system is open for all who have completed their compulsory schooling of nine years. The main goal of accessing the apprenticeship system is to find a suitable apprenticeship occupation and a training company. Various forms of guidance and support are offered in order to make the choice easier and successful: from face-to-face guidance to online-tools. From the year 2017, all young people until the age of 18 will have to either be in school or in an apprenticeship (Ausbildungspflicht - compulsory education or training).
The training in an apprenticeship occupation is open to all young people who have completed nine years of compulsory schooling. No specific school qualification is required to take part in an apprenticeship. For young people who have already completed apprenticeship training or who have graduated from an upper secondary school, the apprenticeship period is reduced by half a year or one year. When a young person wants to learn an apprenticeship trade, he or she needs to apply directly to a company that offers apprenticeship posts.
Since 2016, every young person who has fulfilled 9 years of compulsory schooling has the guarantee that he or she will find a training place (Ausbildungsgarantie). If he or she is not in an upper secondary school or in apprenticeship training, the state has to provide a training slot within a supra-company training. In June 2016 the parliament passed a new law that stipulates from 2017 on all young people under the age of 18 either have to be in school or in apprenticeship training (Ausbildungspflicht – compulsory education or training). So the 9 years of compulsory schooling are followed by three more years in academic education or vocational training.
Guidance and support
It is not always easy for young people to select a suitable occupation or find an apprenticeship post. Different services and initiatives have been set up to support the decision-making process as well as the search for an apprenticeship post. Generally, placement into training vacancies in the dual system is conducted through the career guidance branch of the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS). General information about apprenticeship training and help in the search for open apprenticeship posts are provided by the Apprenticeship Offices. AMS has set up, together with the Federal Economic Chamber, an online platform for the search of vacant apprenticeship posts (www.ams.at/lehrstellen). It enables young people to efficiently search for potential training companies. The educational counselling and career guidance offices of the economic chambers support young people by providing a variety of opportunities. With the career guidance tool BIC (www.bic.at), the economic chambers have established a state-of-the-art communication forum to inform, guide, and support young people in their search for a suitable occupation.