Vocational training market report for 2020/21

The vocational training market is still strongly affected by the pandemic, but looking brighter

28 Oct 2021 | Press release no.36

“The situation on the vocational training market in 2020/21 continued to be strongly influenced by the coronavirus crisis. Despite an upturn, the results are still very much behind those before the pandemic, and we continue to face major challenges,” said Chairman of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, while presenting the report for the vocational training year 2020/21 and reaching out to applicants: “Don’t lose heart, keep applying and open your minds to apprenticeships outside your dream job. Companies should broaden their view to include candidates who may not initially meet one hundred per cent of the requirements. We are offering active support as part of the follow-up placement activities so that as many companies and applicants as possible find each other.”

From October 2020 to September 2021, a total of 511,300 vocational training jobs were registered with the employment agencies (Agentur für Arbeit) and job centres (Jobcenter) in joint facilities. That was 19,000 fewer than in the same period last year. The vast majority are in-house apprenticeships, which fell by 17,700 to 496,800.

Since the start of the vocational year on 1 October 2020, a total of 433,500 applicants have used the placement services offered by the employment agencies and job centres when searching for an apprenticeship. That was 39,400 fewer than in the previous year.

This clear decrease in applicants is mainly explained by the limited access channels to vocational guidance, which could not be completely replaced by digital offers. Therefore, the reported number of applicants is likely to only reflect the actual training interest poorly.

Once again, more in-house apprenticeships were registered over the course of the vocational guidance year compared to the number of applicants. On a national level, there were 87 registered applicants for every 100 registered in-house apprenticeships. However, since many applicants did not apply due to the pandemic measures, this comparison probably paints the market situation somewhat more favourably from the applicant’s point of view than it actually was.

In addition to the regional, occupational and qualification imbalances already known from previous years, the coronavirus pandemic also significantly affected the balance on the training market in the 2020/21 reporting year. As a result, both the proportions of unplaced applicants and of unfilled training vacancies have turned out to be significantly less favourable than before the pandemic.

A total of 63,200 apprenticeships were still to be filled on 30 September 2021. This was 3,200 more than in the previous year. Most vacancies were in professions in the hotel and restaurant industry, in food production and distribution, in health technology and construction.

At the same time, 24,600 applicants had yet to be placed. This leaves 6 per cent of the registered applicants without an apprenticeship or alternative offer.

By the end of September 2021, 199,500 applicants had started vocational training, 16,600 fewer than in the previous year. This corresponded to a share of 46 percent. 16% switched to continuing education, starting an internship or course of study and 2% opted for subsidised qualifications, such as vocational preparation courses or entry-level qualifications. Another 8% are now in employment, 2% are involved in charitable and social work, and 5% are registered as unemployed. No information is available for 13 per cent of the applicants.

In addition to the unplaced applicants, 43,200 young people had accepted an alternative by 30 September, but still wish to find a form of dual training. This figure is 5,700 less than in the previous year.

The activities to match these and the still unplaced applicants with the training vacancies will continue until at least the end of the year. Moreover, we will be contacted in the coming weeks by young people who are still looking for an apprenticeship (or a new one) for various reasons. Experience also shows that companies will also register new or vacant apprenticeships.