Under the slogan "Get Career Advice – Complete Job Placement - #STARTapprenticeship", the BDA President and the BA Chairman (DIHK President Peter Adrian had to cancel at short notice due to illness) held a discussion on Wednesday, 1 June 2022, with instructors and apprentices in Berlin at the site of the company Tornado Antriebstechnik about opportunities and formats of career advice even in times of pandemic crises. The aim was to draw the attention of school pupils, parents, politicians, the general public and companies to innovative offers of career guidance, job placements and open apprenticeship positions and to encourage them to take up vocational training.
The participants in the discussion all agreed that the restrictions caused by COVID-19 had severely affected career guidance, career counselling and the search for apprenticeship positions since the beginning of the pandemic. Many young people lacked orientation due to cancelled vocational training fairs, job placements or visits to companies. They had significant knowledge gaps regarding the possibilities and opportunities of apprenticeships in one of more than 320 different trades. According to counsellors working in practice in this field, the war in the Ukraine had led to an increase in uncertainty among some young people about their own vocational interests. Although apprenticeship figures have improved somewhat since the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies are short of applicants. This spring saw a further drop, although the number of training positions currently open in companies is much higher than last year. This is exacerbating the domestic shortage skilled workers, a factor companies consider to be one of the greatest risks for their own business development.
The participants accordingly considered it more important than ever to encourage early interaction of young people and companies. Job placements like those offered by Tornado Antriebstechnik were seen as an ideal solution to help young people find out if a certain occupation suits them. In one- to two-week placements, young people there are given the opportunity to experience real working life and take a liking to dual training, thus easing their entry into professional life. This strategy was also viewed as good promotion of technical occupations, since the company was able to demonstrate that particularly in the metal processing field there is often a close link between traditional technical skills and modern technology.
BDA President Dulger, BA Chairman Scheele and the instructors and apprenticeships of Tornado agreed that the best entry strategy for vocational training and professional life was to first get good,
comprehensive orientation, later to #discoveranapprenticeship, and then to #STARTapprenticeship. Job placements provided young people insight into what the job is like and companies with the best opportunity to meet and get to know those young people. However, virtual career counselling, a reliable strategy during the pandemic, as well as hybrid formats were a help in choosing a career. They established that the scope already ranged from excellent media support to digital work placements.
DIHK President Peter Adrian, who was unable to attend due to a sudden illness, stated in a written message that: "I myself did a job apprenticeship, and all I can say is: Get out of the classroom and into the plant! On-site job placements are ideal. They give young people the opportunity to experience practical career education and the real work environment. If that isn't possible, digital or hybrid formats are good alternatives. Many companies offer creative and innovative opportunities for career guidance. These range from digital services by training promoters to virtual reality apprenticeship fairs, giving young people the opportunity to discover their strengths, interests and skills. Both the young people and the business world profit from this. Only when you know what you are good at and want to do are you able to make a sound career decision and in this way become a valuable skilled worker in a company."
Dr. Rainer Dulger, President of the German Employers' Association, stated that: "Maths, computer science, natural sciences and technology are much more exciting than many believe, especially for girls who want to make a lasting impact on the world and take the future into their own hands. STEM subjects provide a multitude of opportunities to actively shape the future of our country or to help others. Young people with a strong grasp of STEM subjects are particularly important to companies, setting standards for digitisation and decarbonisation, and consequently for sustainable growth and creation of value. Employees with a STEM background secure the competitiveness of our economy and strengthen Germany's stability. We, i.e. all involved parties, must therefore never cease to inspire young people to pursue these goals. The career opportunities are second to none. The ongoing digitalisation process and energy revolution provide both girls and boys with countless opportunities to develop their skills in a STEM profession. We employers look forward to getting off to a flying start with our STEM trainees and want to motivate everyone to make use of our career counselling and company apprenticeship services. Our doors are open: step in and marvel at all the things you can do with a STEM-oriented education."
On the Day of Action, Detlef Scheele, Chairman of the BA – Federal Employment Agency, said that: "job placements give young people a good idea of what an occupation is about. They gain the security they need for the vital decision of taking up an apprenticeship. Employers also profit from the great overview they get of potential future employees. Especially during skills shortages, job placements are useful to both sides, because there is more to it than just the job applications. Following more than two years of the pandemic, the prospects on the apprenticeship market are bright for applicants, and all of them have the chance to become skilled workers. Our job counsellors are available to them, giving them digital and on-site support with every step they take. Companies offering apprenticeships can contact employer services for individual subsidies or financial support."
Kay Wagenhaus, technical head of Tornado Antriebstechnik, stressed: "The average age of our employees is continually rising, and we need to recruit new staff or train people in-house. We see this as an investment in the future which is vital for the further development of Tornado. We are also committed to diversity and motivating women in particular to pursue careers in technical fields. After the apprenticeship, there are many chances and opportunities for further professional development. Apart from offering further education, we also, for example, enable people to study at a technical college."
In the "Summer of Vocational Training" (#STARTapprenticeship) from May to September 2022, the partners of the "Alliance for Initial Vocational and Further Training" are promoting the successful scheme of dual occupational training among young people and companies. In topical days of action and a wide range of nationwide, federal state level and regional events, the aim is to further raise the visibility of the varied support services, and to create a bridge between young people and companies. The common target is to place as many young people as possible in apprentices in 2022.
Alliance for Initial Vocational and Further Training homepage (aus-undweiterbildungsallianz.de)