Vocational education and training in Germany: Benefits and drawbacks of the dual approach as preparation for professional employment


Zutavern, Stefanie ; Seifried, Jürgen



DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89582-2_16
URL: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-03...
Document Type: Book chapter
Year of publication Online: 2022
Book title: Research approaches on workplace learning : insights from a growing field
The title of a journal, publication series: Professional and Practice-Based Learning
Volume: 31
Page range: 347-365
Publisher: Harteis, Christian ; Gijbels, David ; Kyndt, Eva
Place of publication: Cham
Publishing house: Springer
ISBN: 978-3-030-89581-5 , 978-3-030-89582-2
ISSN: 2210-5549 , 2210-5557
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Wirtschaftspädagogik II (Seifried)
Subject: 370 Education
Keywords (English): Vocational education and training; Dual system; Employability; Workplace learning; 21st-century skills; Professional competence
Abstract: Employees increasingly need to keep pace with the dynamics of the labor market to be professionally successful in the long term. This requires flexibility in shaping one’s employment biography by continuously adapting one’s skills portfolio to the current labor market conditions. 21st century skills are becoming increasingly important in this context. In addition, risk management, as well as planning and organizational skills, are also required of employees. Since not everyone has these skills per se, the vocational training system can be seen as jointly responsible for preparing future employees for these work-related requirements. In Germany, training companies and the state pursue a cooperative approach that has become established for the majority of training occupations. In the German dual system, apprentices complete both practical phases at a training company and theoretical phases at a vocational school. By linking these two elements, apprentices can gain practical experience and at the same time acquire in-depth theoretical knowledge to make the best possible use of the opportunities to learn offered by both learning sites. The development of the dual system to date, however, raises doubts as to whether a fundamental shift is underway here away from a holistic vocational qualification that also includes the trainees’ personal development and toward a system geared one-sidedly to the usability of competencies on the labor market. Against this background, it will be discussed whether the German system of dual vocational training can prepare trainees for the requirements of their future workplace. To this end, the extent to which the dual system fosters successful transitions from training to working life will be examined. Furthermore, it will be discussed whether the dual approach is suitable for the acquisition of vocational competencies and how uniform quality standards can be ensured.

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