The Bundesagentur für Arbeit (German Federal Employment Agency) and Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (German Business Foundation)

Committed to strengthening vocational orientation in upper secondary schools

05 Nov 2020 | Press Release No. 48

“So what comes after graduation?”
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions by students in upper secondary schools. Before receiving their Abitur (German school leaving certificate), young people are faced with an almost unmanageable number of different opportunities to enter working life – from dual training to university studies. Finding the right and suitable thing can be a great challenge – and for some even a hurdle. The number of students dropping out of university has been consistently high for years. In some STEM subjects, more than half of the students drop out of their studies prematurely. The number of apprenticeship drop-outs – across all occupations – has also remained constant for years at around a quarter.
These consistently high drop-out rates in studies and apprenticeships were a major reason for the Bundesagentur für Arbeit and the Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft to pay more attention to vocational orientation in upper secondary schools.
This resulted in the joint, nationwide career guidance project “Effective support for vocational orientation – teaching units for the upper secondary school level.” Objectives of the project: To accompany and support pupils in the important decision as to which occupation and which training path suits their interests and strengths – and thus also to help reduce drop-outs from university and apprenticeships. The goal was also to intensify the cooperation between schools and the Bundesagentur für Arbeit vocational guidance services. After three years, the partners have now taken stock at a major digital closing event with almost 150 participants.

Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Board of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit: “The Abitur, the highest school leaving certificate in Germany, opens up many paths for young people in vocational training and studies. But too many choices can be overwhelming and unsettling. What is the right path for me? Which path gives me quality, long-term prospects? Together with the Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft, our regional directorates and career advisers as well as the education authorities of the federal states and teachers, we have sought answers to these and many other questions and have developed helpful teaching modules. In this way we have made a practice-oriented contribution to a successful and sustainable professional orientation. The project has also clearly shown how important a good and intensive cooperation between career guidance and school is – an absolute benefit to the pupils, who receive professional support with one of the most important decisions of their lives.”

Dr. Arndt Schnöring, Secretary General of the Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (sdw): “Thanks to our many years of experience from various support programmes for young people, we know that making the right choice of career or study is one of the most important life decisions for pupils. We are very pleased that we can now pass on the various concepts and methods that have emerged from this experience. In 2015, we published a manual with teaching materials in cooperation with the vbw - Vereinigung der Bayerischen Wirtschaft e. V. (Association Bavarian Business) and the Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Culture, Science, and Art. An additional 14 as well as numerous other digital materials have now been produced in cooperation with the Bundesagentur für Arbeit and the respective ministries of education and cultural affairs and offer pupils in upper secondary schools a comprehensive vocational orientation.”

At the closing event, the final project brochure was also published: With a large number of quality practical examples, it provides insight into vocational orientation in upper secondary schools. Among other things, Hamburg’s Helene-Lange-Gymnasium will present its annual “BO trip”, during which pupils spend a week discussing their career and study aspirations. You can download the final brochure here: www.sdw.org/studien-und-berufsorientierung-wirksam-begleiten.