Apprentices take part in two different modes of instruction: the company for practical, work-based learning and the part-time vocational school for subject-specific, theoretical training. The two learning venues train apprentices independently of each other. This is because there are two separate legal and training regulations for each type of training. Nevertheless, there are several informal linkages between training companies and vocational schools. Lastly, training alliances between training companies also have to be mentioned.
In the apprenticeship training system, the two places of learning (dual system) are the training company and the part-time vocational school. The apprentice is in a training relationship with his or her training enterprise while also maintaining his or her status as a student at the part-time vocational school.
Formally, the training and learning places are separated into two different areas based on their specific legal foundation (the Vocational Training Act and the School Organisation Act), which incorporates both training regulations and school curricula. Different parties are responsible for training in the company (qualified IVET trainers) and for the instruction and training in school (vocational school teachers). There are different tasks in the framework of the apprenticeship training system: the practical provision of job-specific knowledge and skills in the company and the theoretical provision of basic subject-related theory and extension of general education in the school.
However, in practice there are a lot of formal and informal links between the two learning sites: many teachers worked in companies the apprentices if which they now teach at the part-time vocational school. The company trainers and school teachers often meet to exchange the latest developments in their subject area and the schools regularly reach out to the companies when they need practical support and information, materials, or data because they would like to keep their course materials up-to-date.
Among the training companies there are two types of training alliances. The establishment of a training alliance is compulsory if a company cannot fully impart the knowledge and skills stipulated within the training regulation. It is also possible to enter into training alliances on a voluntary basis, if training companies aim to impart special skills to apprentices – possibly going beyond the occupational profile (e. g. special-purpose computer programmes, foreign language skills, soft skills, etc.).