It is the decision of a company to offer training places. Once they take the decision, they have to comply with the regulations of the Vocational Training Act. There are various measures and initiatives to support companies in their training engagement.
Reasons for involvement in training
In Germany there is a longstanding tradition of training in private companies of all sizes. An important reason for companies to engage in training is to secure a skilled workforce in the future. Many employers also consider training as their social responsibility and take pride in their training engagement. Chambers offer their training companies e.g. a certificate “Recognized Training Company”, stickers with a logo “We train!” and the use of the logo on their web pages. The willingness to train also depends on the economic situation of the company and of the wider economy.
Employers as social partners
Employers play an active part in the development of the dual apprenticeship system in a systemic way. As part of the social partnership they are represented on all levels of the system:
- At the national level employer representatives are members of the Board, advising the Government regarding vocational education and training.
- At the Federal State level the employer representatives participate in the Federal State Boards for Vocational Education and Training.
- At the local level employers are engaged in the Vocational Education and Training Committees of the chambers and in the examination committees for the single occupations.
- For the development of training regulations the social partners appoint occupational experts among their members.
Legal requirements for training companies
In order to be able to train under the apprenticeship scheme companies have to prove that they are suitable as a training facility and that they employ qualified in-company trainers. They have to sign a training contract with the apprentice. Before the training starts the company has to develop an in-company training plan that fulfils the requirements of the training regulation. These formal prerequisites are monitored by the chambers.
Support for training companies
The training counsellors of the chambers provide support and give advice to training companies. If a company is not able to cover the entire necessary training content it can send its apprentices to courses at inter-company vocational training centres. There is also the option to form a training alliance with other companies. Both these ways can be supported through public funding.
There are also various public programmes that are designed to:
- help young people with the transition into an apprenticeship including coaching during their first year in the apprenticeship (The career coaches special programme),
- help SMEs to fill their vacant training places with suitable trainees,
- fund and support model projects e.g. to support companies that are training apprentices with heterogeneous prerequisites and to foster the quality of the in-company training in SMEs,
- fund projects that offer external training management for SMEs, to win self-employed workers with migration background to offer training, to increase mobility of future apprentices and to help companies to recruit university dropouts for apprenticeships (Jobstarter Plus),
- prevent drop-out through volunteer mentoring of vulnerable apprentices or through support during training.
In addition there are government funded internet platforms that support in-company trainers, members of the examination committees or offer information to facilitate transitions between training and employment.