Business and trade organisations, social partners and the State in Germany cooperate on the basis of the consensus principle. The Vocational Training Act regulates that the social partners are involved in decision-making processes at all levels.

National level

At national level representatives of all stakeholders – employers, trade unions, Germany's Federal States and the Federal Government – work together on the Board, with each group having an equal share of votes. The Board is the executive body of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and also the German government's statutory advisory body in fundamental matters regarding vocational education and training. It comments on the drafts of training regulations and framework curricula. In addition it issues recommen­dations for the uniform application of the Vocational Training Act (e.g. on the structure and design of training regulations, examination requirements, competence-based approach etc.).

Federal State level

At the level of the Federal States representatives of the social partners and the supreme federal state authorities form the Federal State Boards, which advise the governments of the Federal States on vocational education and training issues.

Regional/local level

At regional/local level the competent bodies set up Vocational Education and Training Committees with six representatives each from trade unions, employers and teachers at vocational schools. Those committees must be informed and heard in all important matters concerning vocational education and training. Employer and employee representatives as well as vocational teachers also form the examination committees at the competent bodies.

Development of training regulations

Employers and trade unions participate intensively in the development of training regulations jointly with the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training in order to turn the experience from training to good use and to heighten the acceptance of new training regulations in the enterprises providing training. This intensive cooperation applies to the entire process.

Alliance for Initial and Further Training 2015-2018

The social partners are also partners in the “Alliance for Initial and Further Training 2015-2018”, together with the Federal Government, the Federal States and the German Employment Agency. The alliance is set up to foster the development of vocational education and training (see also Stakeholder Cooperation).