Vocational training

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AEG training workshop Mülheim - Saarn (1956)
Apprenticeship workshop at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg (1981)

As vocational training (including vocational education ) is called the training that puts the workers in a position to his professional practice.

A distinction must be made between in-company training, school-based training ( technical schools , vocational schools or professional colleagues ), training in the dual system (teaching in connection with the vocational school and inter-company courses) and studies .

Not to be confused with continuing vocational training that is offered at (vocational) academies while working . The aim here is to adapt knowledge and skills to changed requirements. The demarcation to the concept of advanced training (mostly used in general education) is blurred.

Goal of vocational training

Vocational training is the imparting of theoretical knowledge and practical skills that lead to the professional ability to act. The practical training is supplemented by theoretical knowledge transfer in a vocational school and / or external training institutions ( dual training ). The design as a training being characterized by the following features:

  • Implementation in an orderly training course
  • Providing a broad-based basic vocational training
  • Imparting the technical skills and knowledge necessary to carry out a professional activity
  • Acquisition of the necessary professional experience

International recognition

Within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA), a professional qualification obtained in another EU or EEA state is recognized, provided that it entitles the holder to practice a particular profession there and the training completed there does not differ significantly from that in the state in who the professional activity - as an employee or as a self-employed person - is to be exercised. The legal basis is Directive 2005/36 / EC on the recognition of professional qualifications , which the member states had to transpose into national law by October 2007.


Amount of training allowances per month (as of 2005)

Legal regulations for vocational training

The Vocational Training Act forms the basic regulation of vocational training in Germany. Some occupations, particularly professionals in the medical field ( Health Professions ) are governed by specific laws (such as nursing law , elderly care law, physiotherapists law, emergency medical law ).

Design of vocational training

Vocational training is predominantly carried out in the dual vocational training system, whereby the legally independent training companies and vocational schools must work together in order to guarantee the optimal professional qualification of the apprentices (trainees).

An inter-company training as part of the company training section supplements often the respective vocational training.

Responsibilities of the responsible body

The bodies responsible under the vocational training laws (e.g. chambers of industry and commerce and chambers of crafts ) have the following tasks:

  • You decide on shortening or lengthening the training period and on admission to the final examination or further training examinations (e.g. master craftsman's examination ).
  • They supervise the implementation of vocational training and professional retraining .
  • They advise trainers and trainees and appoint training advisors .
  • You keep the register of vocational training relationships (e.g. apprentice role ).
  • They determine the suitability of training centers and trainers.
  • They set up examination boards and issue examination regulations .
  • They carry out intermediate, final and master's exams.

Training to become a civil servant

Recognition of foreign professional qualifications

Citizens of the European Union who have acquired their professional qualification in a member state have free access to their profession under the EU Professional Recognition Directive - under the same conditions as nationals. The EU Professional Recognition Directive also applies to citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland .

For third-country nationals , things looked different in most professions until April 1, 2012. On April 1, 2012, the so-called Recognition Act came into force, the law to improve the determination and recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad . With it, the procedures for the assessment of foreign professional qualifications in the area of ​​responsibility of the federal government were opened further. The purpose of the law is to “make better use of professional qualifications acquired abroad for the German labor market in order to enable qualification-related employment”. In addition to the law, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has launched the online recognition portal in Germany . Here people with a foreign professional qualification can research the body responsible for the recognition of their qualification and find out about the procedure and the legal basis.


Dual training in teaching

In Austria there are 213 (as of July 1, 2020) recognized apprenticeships whose training takes between two and four years. Most of the apprenticeships are three years. After completing compulsory school, there is a compulsory education up to the age of 18.

Around 40% of Austrian young people do an apprenticeship after the end of their nine years of compulsory teaching, many others attend a vocational school . There is no upper entry age limit.

Apprenticeship training in Austria is divided into two areas: training in the company and attending the relevant vocational school. The apprentice is in a training relationship with a training company. At the same time he attends a vocational school. The largest part (80%) of the apprenticeship period comprises in-company training, in which job-specific knowledge and skills are imparted. The apprentice spends the remaining 8–12 weeks (depending on the occupational group) in the respective vocational school, where basic theoretical knowledge is imparted and general education is expanded.

The apprenticeship training ends with the end of the apprenticeship period. Passing the final apprenticeship examination is a prerequisite for further training. Company trainers and vocational school teachers take this final apprenticeship examination, with the emphasis on practical skills and knowledge.

A special feature of Austria is the double apprenticeship, in which two partially related professions (example: cook - restaurant specialist) can be learned at the same time.


In Switzerland, around 2/3 of young people opt for vocational training. After nine years of compulsory schooling , the young people start vocational training at a company. Only about 20 percent of the students attend a grammar school and then usually begin their studies. Of course, there are also vocational training courses that require special requirements to be met. To train as a police officer , you have to be at least 18 years old and have already completed vocational training or passed the Matura.

In the last years of their school days, the students find out about the various professions and complete various taster apprenticeships ( short internship ) in the upper level . These serve to actively experience the job, to get to know the company, and to enable the company to get an idea of ​​the student. The mostly 15 to 16 year old students then apply to various companies for their chosen profession. Apprentices can be trained who have completed a master craftsman's certificate ( federal diploma ) or the vocational trainer course. In larger training companies, an apprentice trainer is often employed, who is responsible for training some apprentices in his field. In small companies, the manager himself often takes on the role of trainer.

Development of apprenticeship training

The dual vocational training system in Switzerland (2016, source: SERI [1] )

The term basic vocational training ("apprenticeship") is used for initial training lasting two, three or four years. Successful completion of three or four years of basic vocational training leads to a federal certificate of proficiency (EFZ) , which confirms the technical maturity defined by the vocational training office (in consultation with the respective trade association). Two-year basic vocational training courses are also referred to as certificate training, with which the Federal Professional Certificate (EBA) can be obtained after successful completion .

Basic vocational training in Switzerland is based on a triadic (= three-part) system, which includes three different learning locations: apprenticeship company, vocational school and inter-company courses (ÜK). In addition to imparting subject-specific and general educational knowledge, the aim is to link the knowledge acquired in school with practical experience. The goal of the inter-company courses is to convey both within a specific focus. The job-specific-practical part and the school-theoretical part take place in parallel, with a few exceptions, in that the learners attend a vocational school for one to three days per week (depending on the profession, year of training and depending on whether the BMS is attended) and the rest Working days in your training company. In some professions (e.g. farmer or geomatician) the school part takes place in block courses.

The basic vocational training is coupled, which means that the vocational school can only be attended with the corresponding apprenticeship position.

The practical part

The aim of the training in the apprenticeship company is to learn all the practical skills that will later be needed to practice the profession. For almost all professions, courses are held by the relevant professional associations in parallel with the training ( inter-company courses ), and participation is mandatory. After completing the basic training, the trainees often work in different departments in order to get to know different aspects of the profession. Depending on the level of training, the learners begin to take on the tasks of an employee.

An apprenticeship wage is heavily dependent on the industry and increases with each year of training. In the first year it is a few hundred francs, in the last up to a quarter of the wages of a trained employee. The wages are set by the respective industries and are approved by the office for vocational training of the respective canton.

The vocational school

During the entire training period, trainees attend a vocational school one to three days a week. The subjects differ greatly according to occupation. In technical professions, half a day is usually used for general education (ABU, languages, sport) and the rest for subject-specific subjects. Since higher value is placed on learning languages ​​in commercial professions, general education lessons (ABU) are not required for KV learners.

Qualifying final exam

At the end of basic vocational training, practical and theoretical skills are tested in a qualifying final examination (formerly LAP = final apprenticeship examination). Those who pass this will receive the Federal Vocational Certificate (two-year basic vocational training) or the Federal Certificate of Proficiency (three- and four-year basic vocational training) for a recognized apprenticeship .

Based on the modular Bologna system of universities, partial final exams take place after two years for many courses.

Professional baccalaureate

It is up to the learners if they pass the entrance examination and the training company agrees to complete a vocational baccalaureate parallel to the apprenticeship. The vocational school leaving certificate usually takes one day a week. The general education part of the vocational school is waived while attending the vocational school.

The vocational baccalaureate can also be made up after the apprenticeship, which is understood by the term "BMS 2".

There are different professional maturities for the various professional areas:

  • Technical vocational school leaving certificate
  • Commercial vocational school leaving certificate
  • Commercial vocational school leaving certificate
  • Health and social vocational diploma
  • Agricultural vocational school leaving certificate
  • Professional diploma in design
  • Professional qualification in natural sciences

With the vocational school leaving certificate, you have the opportunity to enroll at a university of applied sciences in the respective direction without having to take an exam.

Studying at a university or the ETH is usually possible with certain conditions after graduating from the university of applied sciences. If you want to study a subject directly with the vocational school-leaving certificate that is not offered at universities of applied sciences, you can do so after a so-called passerelle year with passed supplementary exams.


After passing the vocational baccalaureate, students with a good grade point average are free to complete the passerelle that entitles them to admission to Swiss universities. It lasts 1 year. It should be noted that the passerelle is only a supplementary examination for the vocational baccalaureate, which entitles you to admission to Swiss universities. Foreign universities are not obliged to recognize them.

Matura for adults

Pupils who have an inadequate grade point average in the vocational school-leaving exam or who want to take the official Swiss school-leaving exam have the opportunity to prepare for the school- leaving exam at a school for adults . The Matura for adults usually lasts 3½ years. It can be completed as a full-day, half-day or Saturday school. Under certain circumstances, students who have completed their vocational school-leaving certificate can start classes later.

Belgium (German-speaking Community)

newly concluded apprenticeship contracts in Belgium in the respective year

In the German-speaking part of Belgium , there are apprenticeships. Over 45 apprenticeships are offered. The training system is dual, supplemented by inter-company training. The apprenticeship usually lasts three years. The apprentices receive an apprenticeship allowance. The vocational school is attended one or two days a week.

After successful completion of the apprentice receives the journeyman certificate . The practitioner's certificate confirms mastery of the profession, but there are gaps in general education. The partial certificate certifies individual qualifications.

The supervisory authority is the IAWM (Institute for Education and Training).

The minimum age for starting an apprenticeship is 15 years for most professions, the maximum age for starting an apprenticeship is 29 years.

For car mechanics, in addition to the Belgian qualification, there is also the option of obtaining a Dutch and a German qualification (keyword tri-diploma).

The master craftsman training also exists in Belgium.


Education system of the Netherlands

Around 50% of Dutch young people switch to voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs (vmbo) and thus vocational training after the end of the first level (Basisschool and Basisvorming).

The actual vocational training (middelbaar beroepsonderwijs - MBO) is at least 16 years old.

The young people can choose whether they want to do their training in a company (part-time variant, Beroepsbegeleidende Leerweg - BBL) or at a vocational school (vocational variant, Beroepsbegeleidende Leerweg - BOL). Formally, the professions and qualifications are identical. The vocational training variant also includes internships. Two out of three learners take the vocational training path, one out of three learners take the part-time path.

The vocational version costs school fees from the age of 18, before that it is compulsory and is therefore free. In the part-time variant, the learner receives a teaching allowance from the company.

The training consists of partial qualifications, which are checked and completed for themselves. This means that there is no final examination.

The degree has a specific level:

  • Level 1: Assistant level. Duration: six months to a year
  • Level 2: Basic vocational training. Duration: two to three years
  • Level 3: Vocational Education. Duration: two to four years
  • Level 4: Training for middle management. Duration: three to four years and further training to become a specialist, duration: one to two years.

Levels 1 and 2 have no admission requirements. Level 4 entitles to higher vocational training (Hoger Beroepsonderwijs - HBO) at a technical college (Hogescholen).

For Germans who live near the border and who also had Dutch at school, the Dutch system is also an alternative.


In France, (dual) vocational training is of much less importance than in German-speaking countries. In their place there are various technical schools, technical schools and universities.

In the craft sector, however, there is a system of vocational training ( apprentissage , formation professionnelle ). The journeymen are united in the association ouvrière des Compagnons du devoir .

Since the training is also recognized in Germany, it can be interesting for German students to complete the training in France if they have the appropriate knowledge of French. The duration of the training is comparable to that in Germany.

In Germany, the Certificat d'aptitude professionnelle is generally equivalent to the journeyman's or skilled worker certificate.


Denmark also has a dual training system. Financing is provided by a training fund, from which training companies receive money and which non-training companies pay into. 50 to 70 percent of the training is provided in the company, correspondingly 30 to 50 percent in the vocational school. Denmark has around 120 apprenticeships.

United States

In the USA, vocational training is less formalized than in Germany. After leaving high school or college (see US school system ), on-the-job training usually follows at work (learning through practical training).

See also


  • Wolf-Dietrich Greinert: History of vocational training in Germany. In: Rolf Arnold , Antonius Lipsmeier (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Berufsbildung. 2nd, revised and updated edition. Wiesbaden 2006, p. 499–508 (online p. 504–508 with reference index)
  • Klaus Harney: History of Vocational Training. In: K. Harney, H.-H. Krüger (Ed.): Introduction to the history of educational science and educational reality. 3. Edition. Budrich, Opladen 2006, ISBN 3-938094-59-1 , pp. 231-267.
  • Lars Wächter: Vocational training from A to Z. Practical manual for trainers. Kiehl Verlag, Herne 2012.

Web links




Important apprenticeship exchanges in Austria


Design of vocational training:

Individual evidence

  1. BIBB / Definition of the concept of competence. Retrieved September 2, 2019 .
  2. Govet / dual vocational training in Germany. Retrieved September 2, 2019 .
  3. ↑ Professional qualifications are recognized. Retrieved December 12, 2009 .
  4. Federal Recognition Act . Recognition-in-deutschland.de. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  5. The recognition of foreign educational and professional qualifications as a challenge for the immigration society . Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2012.
  6. https://lehrberufsliste.bic.at/ , accessed July 3, 2020
  7. APPRENTICES ( Memento of February 13, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
  8. ↑ Compulsory training for young people up to the age of 18 , at help.gv.at
  9. portal.wko.at ( Memento from October 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  10. VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN TEACHING ( Memento of March 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  11. ^ Vocational training in Austria. Retrieved September 2, 2019 .
  12. a b c d Christian Ebner: New ways for dual vocational training - a look at Austria, Switzerland and Denmark , on bibliothek.wzb.eu
  13. ABC of vocational training law
  14. SERI: Basic Vocational Training
  15. ^ State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI: Vocational education courses. Retrieved September 2, 2019 .
  16. State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI: Basic Vocational Training . Retrieved September 2, 2019 .
  17. Admission to the Bachelor's degree. Retrieved September 1, 2019 .
  18. a b LEHRE ( Memento from September 5, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), on iawm.be
  19. TRIDIPLOMATION IN THE AUTOMOTIVE TRADE ( Memento from January 30, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), on iawm.be
  20. MASTER COURSES ( Memento from February 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), on iawm.be
  21. a b Dietmar Frommberger: Typical features of vocational training in the Netherlands and Germany. , on uol.de
  22. a b Netherlands - Information on vocational training
  23. General information ( memento from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), on euzubi.eu
  24. ^ Teaching in France , on frankreich-sued.de
  25. Training in France or studying in Austria | Career choice 2012 ( Memento from November 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  26. France: Information on the "Compagnons du Devoir", the German-French Secretariat (DFS / SFA) and the exchange programs of the German-French Youth Office (DFJW) ( Memento from February 12, 2013 in the web archive archive.today ), on www .zdh.de
  27. Ordinance on equating French examination certificates with certificates about the passing of the final examination or journeyman's examination in recognized training occupations, on gesetze-im-internet.de
  28. ^ BIFO Vocational and Educational Information Vorarlberg. Retrieved April 24, 2018 .