In Germany apprenticeship training can only take place in state recognized training occupations. The training regulations define the content of the training in an occupation. They are elaborated together with experts from the relevant occupation in a formal procedure.

Legal Background

The Vocational Training Act defines the requirements that must be met by a training occupation. It stipulates that initial vocational education and training has to provide the abilities, knowledge and skills (professional ability to act) necessary to undertake a qualified vocational activity in a changing working environment and through a well-regulated course of training. It also has to enable the acquisition of the occupational experience required (article 1, paragraph 3 BBiG).

Initial Vocational Education and Training as ruled by the Vocational Training Act leads to qualifications as skilled worker [Facharbeiter], journeyman [Geselle], or specialised employee [Fachangestellter] (level 4 of the German Qualification Framework). Further Vocational Education and Training leads to qualifications at DRQ levels 5-7 such as certified service technician [Geprüfter Servicetechniker] (level 5), certified master craftsperson [Geprüfter Meister] (level 6), und certified vocational training specialist [Geprüfter Berufspädagoge] (level 7).

Content of a training regulation

The training regulations define minimum requirements for a modern course of training. They include:

  • a description of the typical “skills, knowledge and abilities” of the occupation;
  • the duration of the training;
  • the framework training curriculum for the in-company training and
  • the requirements for the examination at the competent body.

The training regulation is a framework document which applies to the in-company training and gives orientation for the school-based teaching. The contents are matched with the framework curricula for the vocational part-time schools.

The requirements are set in a technologically neutral and function-oriented manner to ensure that the training companies can integrate new developments in their training.

Initiation for the renewal or creation of new training occupations

The trade associations, the employers’ umbrella organisations, the trade unions or the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) usually initiate the renewal of an existing training occupation or the creation of a new training occupation. The decision is taken by the competent Federal Ministry in coordination with the Federal States after consulting all stakeholders. 

Elaboration process

The elaboration of a new or modernized training regulation is a regulated procedure involving the Federal Government, the state governments, employers and trade unions. The outlines are developed in the BIBB together with experts from the relevant occupations who are delegated by the employers and trade unions (see Involvement of Social Partners). Training regulations are issued for recognised training occupations by the relevant ministry, usually the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), in agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). They contain minimum standards for the in-company part of initial vocational education and training.

The framework training curricula in the training regulations for the in-company training are coordinated with the corresponding framework curricula for vocational schools, so that in-company training and vocational school education complement one another. The coordination procedure is regulated in an agreement between the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) of the Federal States and Federal Government (“joint memorandum”).


D Procedure for the development of training occupations