Training should pay off in spite of the pandemic

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National programme to save traineeships to be expanded Training should pay off in spite of the pandemic

The German government aims to save traineeships threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, the nationwide programme to save traineeships (Ausbildungsplätze sichern) has been expanded and extended. On Wednesday the Cabinet also decided that bonus payments for businesses upholding traineeships are to be doubled.

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Financial losses and an uncertain economic situation – the COVID-19 crisis is a particular challenge for companies that offer traineeships. The situation is affecting many young people who are due to begin training soon, as well as those who are in the middle of their training. 

That is why the government intends to expand and extend the safety net it has put in place for trainees with its nationwide programme to save traineeships. The Cabinet decided on Wednesday that the programme is now to be extended to cover the training year 2021/2022.

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek stressed, “Dual training is an important part of our education system and we want to ensure that it survives the pandemic in good shape. That is why we launched a national programme last year to save traineeships. Now we have decided to take this programme further in some areas, and thus to stabilise the training market.”

Bonus payments doubled

Last August, the German government launched a national programme (Ausbildungsplätze sichern) to save traineeships. Until now, the programme has provided assistance for small and medium businesses that have been particularly hard hit by the consequences of the pandemic. They receive bonus payments if they offer places to the same number of trainees as they have hitherto had, or if they increase the number of traineeships they offer, or if they take on trainees from companies that have filed for insolvency. 

These bonus payments are now to be doubled by the German government: 

  • The bonus payment per traineeship contract is to rise from 2,000 to 4,000 euros as of 1 June 2021, if the company offers the same number of traineeships for new trainees as before. 
  • The bonus payment paid where a company actually increases the number of traineeships it offers is to rise from its current level of 3,000 euros to 6,000 euros. 

Number of businesses covered to rise

At the same time the German government wants more companies to benefit from the assistance. To date only small and medium businesses with a workforce of up to 249 have been eligible for support under the programme, but as of 1 June 2021 the provisions will apply to companies with a workforce of up to 499.

As is currently the case, the programme addresses companies that have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 crisis, for instance because they have had to introduce short-time work, or because they have suffered significant loss of earnings.

The payment to companies taking on trainees from other companies forced to file for insolvency as a result of the pandemic is also to be doubled. For every training contract they will receive 6,000 euros rather than the current rate of 3,000 euros. All companies, irrespective of their size, are eligible for this assistance.

Additional financial assistance

The incentive to retain trainees and their trainers in spite of short-time working is also to be enhanced. In future there will not only be subsidies towards trainees’ remuneration but also towards the remuneration of trainers.

Over and above this a Lockdown II special subsidy of 1,000 euros is to be introduced for micro enterprises that offer traineeships. This will come into effect when the company has continued to train trainees although it is unable to conduct its business activities during the current lockdown, or is only able to do so on a reduced scale (e.g. restaurants that may only offer carry out meals).

Subsidies to prepare trainees for exams

In addition, the German government is helping trainees prepare for their final exams this year. Companies will receive subsidies towards the costs of external preparatory courses, provided they give their trainees access to courses of this sort; the courses can also be online.