The Austrian apprenticeship system enables diverse groups of interested people to enter into apprenticeship training. Various initiatives have been launched in order to support the successful acquisition of apprenticeship qualification for persons with various and special needs.

To address the heterogeneous group of persons interested in acquiring a VET qualification in the dual system, various steps have been taken:

  • For apprentices with learning difficulties the apprenticeship period can be extended by one or (in exceptional cases) by two years (Lehrzeitverlängerung). Alternatively, the apprenticeship training can focus on selected competences only, i.e. in such cases the apprentices acquire a partial qualification (Teilqualifizierung). In both cases the attendance of a part-time vocational school is obligatory. Regarding prolonged apprenticeships, the training is completed with the regular apprenticeship leave exam; regarding partial qualifications the leaving exam covers only the competences specified beforehand. Both forms of training are facilitated and supported by vocational training assistance (Berufsausbildungsassistenz).
  • The supra-company training (Überbetriebliche Berufsausbildung, ÜBA) is aimed at people who are unable to find a company-based apprenticeship post. Through ÜBA they can learn an apprenticeship trade in a training workshop funded by the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS). The school-based part of training is provided at the regular part-time vocational school. ÜBA apprentices complete their training with the apprenticeship leave exam. Thus, ÜBA-apprentices and apprentices in companies receive the same qualification.
  • The “Lehre mit Matura”- (or “Berufsmatura”) scheme is aimed at apprentices who wish to acquire the university entrance examination parallel to their apprenticeship training (see more at “Pathways and Permeability”)
  • People with various problems at the intersection between school and the world of work can make use of the Youth Coaching service (Jugendcoaching). The goal of this service is to keep young people under the age of 19 in the education and training system as long as possible in addition to reintegrating NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training). A coaching programme specifically targeted at apprentices and training companies was introduced as well (Coaching für Lehrlinge und Lehrbetriebe). Coaching is conducted by professional coaches and comprises initial talks, the identification of perspectives, a mediation process, as well as support for preparing for the final apprenticeship examination.

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