Centre for Policy Studies in Education

Germany’s apprenticeship system: the inside story

Seminar 2 of the CPSE Series on Secondary Vocational Education: What Future?

Professor Peter F. E. Sloane, University of Paderborn

Date: 21 March, 2013 3:30 for 4:00 start, reception to follow
Location: School of Education, Hillary Place, G.18

Audio Recording of the seminar

Professor Peter F. E. Sloane, University of Paderborn: Germany’s apprenticeship system: the inside story [MP3: 25MB]

Currently, Germany’s apprenticeship system is perceived in Europe as a promising concept to handle present and future labour market problems. This is often considered in connection with unemployment among young people in Germany. Thus, the German unemployment rate of this group is 5.3 %. This is compared to Europe (10.7 %) and the European neighbouring countries (e. g. U.K: 7.8 %, France: 10.6 %, Italy: 14.7 %, Greece: 28.8 %, Spain: 26.1 %) a good result indeed, only Luxembourg has more success (4.3 %), but with a similar system as the German one (figures are from 2012 – http://de.statista.com/, February 2013). From the German point of view this is part of the success story of the so-called dual system.

At first sight the vocational education system mainly is a co-operation of enterprises and schools. About 66 % of the school leavers (secondary II level) in Germany attend such a vocational education programme.

Also, from the German point of view, the dual system is more than the combination of work-based training in enterprises with classroom education in schools. It is a social commitment in the German society and an example for Germany’s governance system.

Therefore, I want to pick out three remarkable aspects to illustrate the inside view on the German apprenticeship system:

  1. the German idea of vocation (Berufsprinzip = principle of vocation) as an educational approach
  2. the German governance system (the so-called Rhineland Capitalism)
  3. the German idea of didactics (the development of learning arrangements)

The talk will conclude with some final notes on future trends of the apprenticeship system in Germany.

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