Ensuring dual training in the corona crisis:

The partners in the Alliance for Initial and Further Training agree measures to stabilise dual training

26 May 2020 | Press release no.31

The top partners in the Alliance for Initial and Further Training have agreed measures today to cushion the impact of the corona crisis on dual training. In a meeting chaired by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier, a joint declaration for the Alliance for Initial and Further Training was made by the Federal Government, the Federal Employment Agency (BA), the federal states, the trade associations (BDA, BFB, DIHK and ZDH) and the trade unions. The partners want to ensure that apprentices can continue their training and sit their examinations despite the difficult situation at the moment. They have also identified the common goal of offering enough apprenticeships over the coming years.

Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs: “A reliable framework for dual training will be essential in the current crisis if we want to continue ensuring the supply of skilled professionals in the future. Right now, companies need our support to continue offering top qualifications. By offering a bonus to companies that take on apprentices from insolvent firms, we’re providing the impetus required for young people to successfully complete an apprenticeship started at another company, helping us to overcome the effects of the corona crisis.

Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: “The dual training system is a core feature of our country’s economy and the ticket to our successful future. That’s why we have to keep it going, especially in difficult times. I think it’s important that young people can start or complete an apprenticeship in 2020. To make this possible, we’ve established various support measures at today’s meeting. We’re not only fighting for every job, but also every apprenticeship”.

Anja Karliczek, Minister of Education and Research: “The strengths of our dual training system are highlighted during the current crisis. It’s the essential foundation of our economic strength. If we want it to stay strong, we’d do well to invest in the efficiency and capacity of our dual training system. The measures adopted today by the Alliance for Initial and Further Training will help give young people the opportunity of starting and completing an apprenticeship in these difficult times. The close cooperation between everyone involved, especially our social partners, has once again proven its worth in our country. We’re working together to ensure apprentices can still complete their training, even if their exams have been cancelled or postponed at the moment. We’ve also launched an emergency programme to invest in digital devices and learning platforms for schools, which is also benefitting vocational colleges, as learning can now continue despite the restrictions of the corona crisis”.

Annette Widmann-Mauz, Minister of State for Migration, Refugees and Integration: “Immigrants and refugees have been hit hard by the corona pandemic, as many of them are currently in training or working in hotels and restaurants. We have to do all we can to ensure that everything we’ve achieved in terms of labour market integration doesn’t go to waste. That’s why integration in training and the labour market forms a key part of the German government’s national action plan for integration”.

Dr Stefanie Hubig, President of the Conference of Education Ministers and Education Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia: “Vocational education and vocational colleges create future opportunities for young people; they also play a key role in promoting educational equality and make an important contribution to the competitiveness of German companies. Our vocational education system is once again proving its tremendous efficiency and adaptability in developing plans to remain open in accordance with stringent hygiene requirements to overcome the challenging circumstances. It’s important that our apprentices can now continue along their chosen paths. The federal states will cooperate with the vocational colleges and play their part in ensuring that trainees are not disadvantaged in any way by the corona epidemic”.

Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency: “We have to pull together to prevent a whole generation of trainees from being negatively affected by the corona crisis. The Federal Employment Agency is offering advice and reliable support services to ensure that companies can still be matched up with applicants in uncertain times. We’re launching even more digital services for students and learners this year, such as an online personal discovery tool called “Check U”. We’re contacting more training companies and advising them on how to establish and stabilise training relationships. We’re also offering labour market tools and multiple resources for companies and young people”.

Eric Schweitzer, President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce: “We’re now adopting our first measures to help keep existing training agreements and facilitate new training opportunities. We’ll closely monitor the training market and offer targeted support to companies according to their region, sector and size in areas where training is no longer possible without outside assistance. The opportunity of achieving entry-level qualifications is especially important for underperforming applicants this year, as this will let them get their foot in the door and switch to an apprenticeship as quickly as possible. The chambers and associations will be trying out speed dating, and the chambers will be expanding their apprenticeship fairs and working hard to ensure trainees can sit their final examinations despite the challenging circumstances”.

Elke Hannack, Acting Chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation: “The alliance has created a safety net for education, and we’re sending a clear message with all the measures adopted today – we’re fighting for every apprenticeship. We’re helping to secure the future opportunities of our younger generations with initiatives like bonuses for companies that take on trainees after their apprenticeships, as well as collaborative, contracted and external training. It’s our way of telling young people that they’re needed and should approach companies, apply for an apprenticeship and take advantage of all our apprenticeship fairs and consultancy services. It’s also our way of telling companies to educate young people and take care of their apprentices to make sure the corona crisis isn’t followed by a critical shortage of skilled professionals”. 

The partners in the alliance have specifically agreed that companies should temporarily receive a bonus for taking on trainees after their apprenticeship. Companies will also be able to make greater use of the benefits of collaborative and contracted training to stabilise the 2020/21 training year. The partners in the alliance also want to offer more targeted support and agency services to companies and young people, including more digital formats.

The partners in the alliance will continue to monitor the medium-term and long-term effects of the pandemic and take further measures to stabilise the training market if necessary.