The Austrian apprenticeship system offers a wide range of vocational qualifications and study programmes. Currently, there are nearly 200 different apprenticeship trades available for all young people seeking an apprenticeship placement.
As of June 2018, there are 198 apprenticeship trades in Austria. They are set up as individual, group, special-focus, or modular apprenticeships. All apprenticeship trades laid down in the list of apprenticeships (http://lehrberufsliste.m-services.at), which specifies the apprenticeship periods and relationships to other apprenticeship trades including credits awarded for already completed apprenticeship periods.
The knowledge and skills required for an apprenticeship trade are specified in training regulations based on labour market requirements. In this respect, the ability to practice an occupation is predominant. Training in an apprenticeship aims to qualify graduates to take up their chosen occupation immediately upon completion of training. Training regulations specify the minimum requirements the training content should be imparted by the training enterprise. Therefore, a consistent training level for the individual apprenticeship trade is also ensured.
In the apprenticeship training system, the two places of learning are the training company and the part-time vocational school. The apprentice is in a training relationship with his or her training company in addition to being a student, in a part-time vocational school, at the same time. The company-based part of training makes up the major part of the apprenticeship period (80%). Young people who do not find a company-based apprenticeship post have the option to complete an apprenticeship within the framework of supra-company training (Überbetriebliche Ausbildung, ÜBA).
Since autumn 2008 all Austrian apprentices have the possibility to complete the “Berufsmatura” parallel to their apprenticeship training. “Matura” is the Austrian general university entrance exam that can be passed at the end of the general or vocational upper secondary schools. The “Berufsmatura” is the “vocational” version in the framework of apprenticeship training: 3 out of 4 subjects can be finished by an exam already before the final apprenticeship examination; to be admitted to the fourth and final subject examination, the apprentice must have finished his or her apprenticeship by passing the final apprenticeship examination and also have reached the age of 19. The Berufsmatura offers the possibility to pass most aspects of the Berufsreifeprüfung within the time of the apprenticeship training.