Providing young adults with vocational qualifications: "Zukunftsstarter" ["Start the Future"] initiative to continue

The Federal Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs (BMAS), the Federal Employment Agency (BA), and the Executive Board of the BA have agreed to commit themselves more strongly to continue their efforts to provide education and training to young adults. The "Start the Future" ("Zukunftsstarter") initiative is to continue from January 2022 until the end of 2025.

14 Jan 2022 | Press Release No. 4

The goal of the initiative is to allow young adults aged between 25 and no older than 34 to catch up on their vocational qualification. During the previous term of the initiative from August 2016 until the end of December 2020, 135,000 young adults were given support in training for a qualification. Additionally, more than 36,000 young adults within the initiative started non-subsidised training. In the follow-up initiative, for example, the proportion of retrained employees in plants is to be increased, whereby a special emphasis shall be placed, inter alia, on severely handicapped people, rehabilitants and refugees.

Lifelong learning and vocational further education are becoming increasingly important in view of comprehensive structural change and demographic trends. Furthermore, skilled workers are increasingly sought after, whereas the demand for unskilled labour is decreasing. The vocational qualification of young adults without a certificate is a vital measure to secure the need for skilled employees.

Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labour & Social Affairs: "Unfortunately there are far too many adults who don't have a vocational qualification. The risk of becoming unemployed in this category is more than four times higher than among people with a vocational certificate, so catching up on a qualification is the best protection against redundancy. At the same time, much-wanted skilled workers emerge who are vital for Germany. The "Start the Future" initiative, with its legal claim to funding of vocational qualifications, allows people to be supported individually, and bonuses for successful interim and final examinations encourage motivation and perseverance. That is the way to go to encourage young people to get a vocational diploma."

Anja Piel, DGB [German Federation of Trade Unions] Board Member: "The BA's scheme has become a real success story. If young people are given the opportunity to better themselves, they almost always go for it. The next important step would have to be the reliable perpetuation of support for disadvantaged young people in the transition phase from school to an apprenticeship. The legal claim to funding of a school leaving certificate is regulated, and the "Work of Tomorrow Act" allows one to catch up on a vocational qualification. What we now need is the right to an apprenticeship place, because a large number of young people are still unqualified. We take the new Federal Government at their word: the announced training guarantee must be quickly implemented, and labour market funding of apprenticeships expanded upon."

Christina Ramb, Executive Board Member of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) and Deputy Chairperson of the BA's Administrative Board: "We want to encourage young adults to get qualified so as to enable them to receive a vocational qualification to avert unemployment. The plants need skilled staff. The "Start the Future" initiative gives them the big chance to attract much-needed skilled workers. "Start the Future" is allowing young adults with life experience to grab their new chance, and by showing motivation they turn out to be ideal for the job."

Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the BA: "Because of the demographic situation, skilled workers will be scarce in future. At the same time, rapid structural changes are taking place, partly driven by digitisation and decarbonisation. Although we won't run out of work, it'll become more challenging. To keep up with the labour market, the importance of qualifications and further training will increase, and a vocational certificate is the most important step for starting a successful career. First and foremost, companies are not looking for labourers, but for skilled workers. I'd like to remind young people who still lack vocational qualifications to take the plunge towards acquiring job skills. It's not yet too late to get job security by gaining qualifications. It's well worth it, and we as the BA will support this initiative."

For further information (only available in German) on the "Start the Future" initiative, please visit: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/k/zukunftsstarter

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