Employee qualification remains at a high level

Demographic change, structural change and digitalisation are making the qualification of employees increasingly important. The BA can support companies by providing training guidance and subsidies for course costs and wages.

28 Apr 2021 | Press release no.16

<! [if gte mso 9]>Normal021falsefalsefalseDEX-NONEX-NONE<![endif] ><! [if gte mso 9]><![endif] >“The regular continuing training of employees will become an essential business success factor in the future and indispensable when it comes to mastering the transformation well. Those who invest in the qualification of their employees are also investing directly in the future of their company,” says Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). "As the Federal Employment Agency, we now have a wide range of legal options to support companies even better in this with guidance and various instruments,” says Scheele.

Despite the pandemic and its effects, almost 30,000 employees took up a subsidised qualification measure last year. The year before, there were about 35,000 employees. The decline is thus much smaller than could have been expected.

The fact that fewer employees have taken up continuing training funded by the BA can be explained by the pandemic and is one of the consequences of the lockdowns. This is because not all training providers were immediately able to switch to alternative forms of delivery.

16,000 of these workers were men, 13,600 of them women. They mainly trained to become care specialists, followed by drivers in road transport. Since the changeover to generalist nursing training, the term “nursing specialist” has been used to refer to all nursing specialists, e.g. geriatric nurses and health care nurses. Almost 8,600 people, mainly women, trained as nursing specialists. In the majority of cases, it was employed geriatric care assistants who took up such continuing training. 

Almost 6,000 people, mainly men, wanted to receive continuing training in driving in road transport. Increased online commerce during the pandemic may have led to a higher demand for drivers.

In the previous year, the nursing training courses also occupied a peak position. The nursing professionals were ahead with a good 12,000 people, however, followed by the transport and logistics clerks.

In order to make it more attractive to use periods of short-time work for continuing vocational training, the legislator has introduced relief measures. Under certain conditions, social security contributions as well as course costs can be reimbursed in the case of continuing vocational training during short-time work.

The BA therefore recommends every company to contact the employer service of their regional Agentur für Arbeit before commencing any qualification of their employees.


  • The Qualification Opportunities Act (QCG), which came into force on 01.01.2019, strengthened continuing training guidance for employees and qualification guidance for employers. In addition, continuing training support for employees was expanded and again significantly strengthened with the Work of Tomorrow Act (enacted on May 28, 2020).
  • Since January 1, 2021, the Work of Tomorrow Act has enabled employers to submit collective applications for the funding of continuing vocational training for several of their employees with comparable training needs.
  • The collective application procedure is associated with a significant simplification of the current complex process for implementing continuing training funding within the framework of individual funding for employee qualification (“one application – one approval”).
  • With the Employment Security Act, among other things, the promotion of continuing vocational training during short-time work was newly regulated in § 106a of the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III) as of January 1, 2021 and decoupled from the previous support for employees according to § 82 of SGB III. In addition to the financial incentive of half the reimbursement of social insurance contributions, this is associated with a further simplification of the application procedure.  Under the conditions of § 106a para. 2 of SGB III, the course costs are also subsidised.