A slight increase in training opportunities for young people

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Vocational Education and Training Report 2023 A slight increase in training opportunities for young people

The chances for young people to find an apprenticeship or traineeship have recently improved but at the same time, ever more apprenticeship offers are not being taken up, as the Vocational Education and Training Report 2023, which was approved by the Federal Cabinet, shows. What does the training market look like in detail? An overview.

5 Min. Lesedauer

Trainees in the metalworking trades in a training centre

Trainees in metalworking trades: there is a high demand for skilled workers in this sector. 

Foto: mauritius images/Rupert Oberhäuser

What are the main challenges currently affecting the training market?

The Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian offensive in Ukraine: the training market had to cope with some significant challenges in 2022. Supply and demand are influenced by overarching trends in addition to the various crises we are currently experiencing, such as the demographic development: some 4.7 percent fewer young people left school in 2022 than in 2019.

We are also seeing a social, digital, and ecological transformation. Companies have an urgent need for well-qualified young skilled workers to implement such things as the energy and mobility transition in Germany.

What important core data does the vocational training report contain?

One key statistic concerns the number of newly concluded dual training contracts: at just 0.4 percent compared to the previous year, there was a slight increase to 475,100 in 2022. But the number of new contracts is still well below pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels. By comparison with 2021, the number of available training places increased in 2022 to about 544,000 training vacancies representing a slight increase of just 1.4 percent.

However, the lack of enthusiasm among young people remained almost unchanged and stagnated, resulting in more training places, but fewer applicants. Some 68,900 training places were still vacant by the end of September 2022.

How likely are young people to find a suitable apprenticeship or traineeship?

The situation improved slightly in 2022. In purely mathematical terms, there were 109.3 training places available per 100 applicants, which represents a continuous slight increase compared to previous years. To put it another way, more apprenticeship places are being offered, whilst the number of applicants remains roughly the same.

How are the training companies faring?

Many companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable applicants due to the stagnating number of young people who are interested in dual training, so the number of unfilled apprenticeship vacancies increased by about nine percent in 2022 compared to the previous year. However, companies urgently need a sufficient number of trainees. We are not currently facing a nationwide shortage of skilled workers, but there is an increased demand for them.

Is the situation the same in all sectors and regions?

No, not at all: there are some significant differences in the supply and demand ratio in different sectors and regions. Certain professions, such as the real estate industry, car sales and automotive engineering, software development, carpentry, horticulture, administration, and office management are extremely popular and consequently in high demand among prospective trainees.

The lack of interest in some sectors, such as hairdressing, logistics, the food and beverage sector, hotel and restaurant professions, construction, and building-related professions, as well as metal working professions, on the other hand, makes it almost impossible to recruit apprentices. The demand for skilled workers is also high in the health, social, and education sectors, a situation that is also exacerbated by regional differences. It is harder, for example, for applicants in Berlin and Brandenburg to find a job than in Bavaria or Saarland, which is why it is all the more important for young people who wish to take up an apprenticeship to be as mobile and flexible as possible, both in terms of the region and the desired occupation.  

What is the Federal Government doing to improve vocational education and training?

The Federal Government takes the improvement of the quality of vocational education and training and encouraging more young people to take up dual vocational training extremely seriously, which is why they have launched a number of initiatives and measures including the training guarantee, which the Federal Cabinet approved at the end of March. The objective is to make it possible for all young people to gain access to fully qualified, preferably in-company vocational training. Close to 18 percent of young people between the ages of 20 and 34 currently hold no formal vocational qualification, which is why plans have been drawn up to further strengthen early career guidance at schools. The Federal Government's "Excellence Initiative on Vocational Education and Training", for example, will be focusing more on grammar schools to facilitate the transition from school to work as well as improving the situation in terms of promoting specific highly talented young people. The international orientation in vocational education and training is also being expanded. By 2026, a total of about 750 million euros will have been made available for the Excellence Initiative.

The Federal Government is continuing their collaboration with social partners and the Länder to improve the quality, attractiveness, and integrative power of vocational education and training under the motto "Summer of Vocational Training".

To what does the motto "Summer of Vocational Training" refer?

The "Alliance for Initial and Continuing Training", which includes members the Federal Government, as well as social partners and associations, is using the "Summer of Vocational Training" to promote the benefits of vocational education and training. Interested parties will receive important information via social media and at numerous events at federal, state, and regional levels between May and late September.

The main target group for the "Summer of Vocational Training" is young people, but also parents and companies, the main objective being to bring as many young people and companies together as possible. The primary aim is to place a larger emphasis on career selection, to highlight the attractiveness of vocational training, to show the diversity of companies, and to encourage follow-up placements.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz kicked off the Summer of Vocational Training initiative by pointing out the large number of exciting professions that require formal vocational training and told any young people interested in formal training that his own experience had shown him that: "It's best to choose something that really interests you, something that fires you up. Because success and satisfaction during the training course and later as a professional working in the respective sector will almost automatically be guaranteed". Scholz said that apprenticeships bring personal recognition and good money "so, anyone who decides to begin a vocational training programme this summer will be doing everything right."