In today’s “Europe  without borders” European issues matter more than ever for national education plans: Buzzwords like refugees and vocational training[1], Industry  4.0 or the European Alliance for Apprenticeships come up in almost every European discussion at the moment.

So how do these topics influence the quality of training in companies on a  national level?

Refugees and vocational training

At the moment, there is an animated discussion about different measures to integrate young refugees into dual vocational training. The success of these measures depends on how companies will take to them.

Company training schemes are of tremendous importance for the integration of young refugees. This is also the stance of the majority of German businesses: 3 out of 4 small and medium training companies believe that apprenticeships are the best way to integrate young refugees into society. The vast number of youths and young adults among the refugees points toward a growing demand for trainings and apprenticeships coming from this group in the next years. These findings suggest that there will be a need for additional efforts to provide enough training spots and apprenticeships for young refugees in the future  apart from the training possibilities already offered by training companies.

Industry 4.0

“Four Dot O” represents changes due to the use of modern digital technologies in business. Numerous processes for restructuring and innovation stemming from digitalization are changing vocational education and training, especially when employees have to go digital and be innovative in for the sake of doing a good job. What are the  necessary organisational and structural requirements for Vocational Training 4.0 within companies?

Larger industrial companies have already started adapting to these changes and are developing appropriate strategies. The training department at Siemens, for example, now categorises and defines the “Top 25 competences relevant for Industry 4.0”[2]. Job profiles (“roles”) are identified and planned using target-actual analyses relying on competence steps to reduce existing “training gaps”.

European Alliance for Apprenticeships

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) constitutes a focal point in the EU’s efforts to reduce youth unemployment, focusing on a pan-European plan to build and improve vocational training. One example is  dual training, which is perceived as outstandingly effective when it comes to providing young people with a chance to enter the labour market and sustainable employment prospects due to the training programs intricate connection to the labour market.

A diverse group of stakeholders from the political, business and educational sector is the basis for EAfA. For example, BMW is looking to broaden their vocational education opportunities on an international level. They tailored a dual training program to this cause, which incorporates vocational training in Germany and theoretical units in Spain. BMW is taking on 1,500 apprentices for this program each year.

This small insight into the numerous tasks of training companies underlines the steadily growing importance of them in order to implement European education subjects into national education plans.

[1] BMBF 2017: Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht 2017, S.421 ff.

[2] Kunz, Christoph (2015): Next generation competencies for a digital  world – Erfahrungen aus dem Siemens-Projekt »Industrie 4.0@SPE, in: BWP 6/2015:Lernen für die digitale Wirtschaft, S.33 ff.