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Training and Development in Germany Graham Attwell and Felix Rauner Institut Technik und Bildung, University of Bremen

, Germany The background to Training and Development in Germany Germany is the largest country in Europe with a population of some 82 million. Of these some 40 million are economically active. Over the past three years unemployment has risen dramatically and at present is 10.3%. This figure, however, conceals large regional differences with very high levels of unemployment in the Eastern Länder (formerly East Germany), in September 1998 totalling 16.3%. Gross Domestic Production in 1997 was 22,585 ECU per person compared with the European average of 18,963 ECU and 19,234 ECU in the UK (EUROSTAT, 1998). Despite the recent rise of the service sector the German economy is still dominated by industrial production. Although it is difficult to obtain precise comparative statistics in 1995 the production sector contributed 34.5% of Gross Domestic Production compared with 26% in the UK in 1994. In 1995 37% of the total work-force were engaged in production, compared with 23% in the UK in 1996 and 24% in the USA in the same year (Der Fischer Weltalmanach, 1998). Average wage rates are high leading some commentators to characterise Germany as having a high skills-high wage paradigm. The predominant feature of training and development in Germany is the internationally admired Dual System of apprenticeship training. Vocational education and training has a long tradition in Germany and the origins of the dual system can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Young people seeking vocational training apply to employers and are selected on the basis of their past achievements. Trainees who have been accepted by an employer sign a contract as an apprentice. The training contracts are registered and supervised by the chambers of trade and commerce. Apprenticeships last for between three and three and a half years, although in some sectors this may be shorter for Gymnasium (grammar school) graduates. Nationally recognised apprenticeships can only be provided in one of the 376 recognised training occupations. The training follows a curriculum and testing to standards established in the training regulations (Ausbildungsordnungen) issued by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. Trainees spend an average of two days a week at an occupation-specific vocational school (Berufsschule) although this may be delivered in block form. The Berufsschule provides both vocational theory and underpinning knowledge and covers basic academic subjects including German and English. Berufsschulen are divided by trade sector, and students are grouped by year of apprenticeship and receive instruction for either a single occupation or for related occupations. In occupations with a high proportion of small enterprises, such as construction, basic training may be provided in full time vocational schools or in training centres. The chambers of trade and commerce are responsible for both the content and implementation of vocational training. All chambers have vocational training committees, consisting of employee and employer representatives. These committees deal with all issues related to vocational training. The vocational schools are the responsibility of the regional Lander governments.

Some 70% of the youth age cohort undertake vocational education and training through the Dual System. This includes a substantial percentage who have already obtained the university entrance qualification, the ‘Abitur’, and who subsequently progress to university of polytechnic. It also includes a growing proportion of university graduates. Two thirds of polytechnic-trained engineers first qualified through an apprenticeship and one third of university graduates in engineering have also graduated through the Dual System. At the present time about 4% of the total workforce are apprentices. Of the total 1.62 million apprentices 631,000 are in handwork trades, 736,000 in industry and trades and 157,000 in the professions. The Infrastructure for Training and Development in Germany Vocational education and training has a long tradition in Germany and the origins of the dual system can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Presently the dual system is regulated by four pieces of legislation: the Vocational Training Act of 1969 (Berufsbildungsgesetz), the Vocational Training Development Act (Berufsbildungsförderungsgsetz) of 1981, the Craft Regulations (Handswerksordnungen) and the Youth Employment Protection Act (Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz) of 1960 (Cockrill and Peter Scott, 1997). The Vocational Training Act of 1969 established the Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB), a federal body which brings together representatives of the central and Länder governments together with the social partners to advise on vocational training issues. The BIBB are responsible for the development of occupational profiles and training curricula. The BIBB is answerable to the Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research, whilst the approval of the occupational profiles rests with the Federal Minster of Economy, advised by research undertaken by the Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB) who are responsible for labour market research in Germany. The vocational schools are governed by the regional Länder governments, who have established a standing conference of education ministers – the Kultusministerkonferenz. A potential apprentice and his or her future employer sign a training contract. The training contracts are registered and supervised by the chambers. Nationally recognised apprenticeships can only be provided on one of the 376 recognised training occupations. The training follows a curriculum and testing to standards established in the training regulations (Ausbildungsordnungen) issued by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. Apprentices who successfully pass their examinations receive certificates indicating they are a skilled worker (Facharbeiter) or, in the craft trades, a Gesellenbrief. All enterprises have to register with their appropriate chamber (Kammer) and pay fees. This can be either the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the appropriate Chamber of Crafts (Handswerkskammer) (although some enterprises are members of both). The Chambers of Industry and Commerce are organised in the Deutscher Industrie- und Handelstag (DIHT), which collects and collates employer’s suggestions and advises the central government on policy issues. The chambers are responsible for both the content and implementation of vocational training. All chambers have vocational training committees, consisting of employee and employer representatives. These committees deal with all issues related to vocational training. The chambers also employ training councillors (Ausbildungsberater) who have control and advisory responsibilities for workplace training. Training is provided at the employer’s expense, although research suggests that, where training is organised in the workplace, the gains to employers match or even exceed the costs. There are no subsidies or government incentives to provide training, although the Länder

carry the cost of the school based elements of the dual system. Apprentices are paid an allowance which is considerably less than the wages of an adult worker. There is no levy system except in the construction sector, which is dominated by small and medium sized enterprises that rely heavily on inter-company training centres supervised by the chambers in order to provide broad based training. Inter-company training centres have also been established in a number of other trades with a preponderance of small and medium sized enterprises, given the concern to provide the necessary range of experience for qualification in a trade. Public Policy and Strategy for Training and Development Over the past three years there has been a growing debate over the perceived crisis in the Dual System. This debate is given increased impetus by the recent election of a Social Democratic Green government coalition. Such reform has already been the subject of an intensive debate between the Länder Education ministers and the social partners. In an extensive report ‘Vocational education in need of reforms’, produced by the Institut Technik und Bildung for the Ministries of Economy, Labour and Culture of the North RhineWestphalia Land, Heidegger and Rauner (1996) outline the major challenges facing the dual system. In their introduction they recognise the role of the German State in weighing general economic and social objectives against the particular interest of individual enterprises. Whilst the increasing demands of flexible production are leading to a tendency towards individualisation of life perspectives and occupational identities they also advocate the strengthening of occupational identity as a key factor in social solidarity and in combating social exclusion. The present crisis, they state, is characterised by three factors: • • • A shortage of apprenticeship places; A drift away from the dual system to the Gymnasium and academic higher education; A need for modernisation in occupational profiles and the content and processes of vocational training.

Whilst conjunctural economic and demographic factors have been blamed for the shortage of apprenticeships it is important to recognise long term structural factors:

Firstly there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of apprenticeship places in large enterprises due to the establishment of individual cost centres, tendencies towards outsourcing and pressures for the maximisation of short-term profits. Secondly, in the craft trade, which is the numerically most important sector in terms of apprenticeship provision, enterprises are increasing unable to provide training and experience for the breadth of tasks and knowledge demanded of new occupational profiles. Thirdly the growth of the tertiary sector of the economy has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in apprenticeship places in service and infrastructure occupations. Heidegger and Rauner (1996) put forward a wide-ranging programme for the modernisation and reform of the dual system. They base their proposals on the following principles: • The wish to adhere to and strengthen the work based structure of occupations in Germany. The principal of occupational structures and the dual system are seen as an important bedrock of social stability, which itself is a critical factor in encouraging enterprises to locate in Germany, and in maintaining cultural traditions. However in order to answer increasing demands for flexibility and modernisation occupational profiles need to be shaped in a more open and dynamic way than has been so previously. Occupational identity, as opposed to extrinsic work morals based on wage incentive and social uncertainty, is seen as providing individuals with the opportunity to construct occupational biographies, even in a time of increased uncertainty in employment and heightened geographical mobility. • The desire to maintain the ‘dual nature’ of vocational education. Company based training within the dual system provides authentic practice of complex work tasks. However there is the need for a dramatic improvement in the quality of enterprise training. The contractual nature of the dual system has also been a major factor in the low youth unemployment in Germany. • These considerations do not preclude the expansion of school based – or alternating – vocational education and training. In any case there is a need to strengthen the status of the vocational schools and to modernise the curriculum and pedagogic approaches. This should include the development of integrated curricula between enterprises and schools, allowing a reduction in time spent on assessment.

• The need to develop a series of dynamic core occupations. The present structure of occupational profiles no longer matches the economy and structure of industry and commerce in Germany; neither does it provide the flexibility the modern economy demands. It is proposed that a limited number of core occupations could be developed by merging comparatively narrow occupational profiles which have until now been allocated to separate fields. The development of ‘open dynamic occupations’ will increase flexibility and mobility both within and between occupations. The occupational profiles for the core occupations should be “prospectively” planned and the processes for planning and revision should be speeded up. However training based on forecasts of future tasks alone is not sufficient to deal with the speed of change in technology and work organisation. Apprentices need to learn how to manage their own learning and to be able to “shape” technology and work. Just because of the very strength of the initial system of vocational education and training relatively little attention has been paid until recently to the need for continuing education and training. Under pressure from changing economic and social needs, including amongst others the high rate of unemployment, the problems of the Eastern Lander, and the rapid implementation of new technologies, there has been a debate on policy development of continuing training. This debate has centred on whether continuing training should be regulated, as in the Dual System, or whether it should be market driven through the enterprises. Whilst the final outcome is not determined it appears that the new government has decided against regulation of continuing training. Corporate Policies and Strategies In understanding corporate policy and strategies to training in development it is necessary to consider the different sectors of the German economy separately as there are quite varied dynamics of development. In the important handwork sector, comprised of small and medium enterprises, training and development is stable following a reform of the law at the beginning of 1998. The general strategy is to utilise the introduction of new occupations, as a result of technological developments, like for instance building management, to reduce the number of occupational profiles, in order to develop flexibility. Similarly training and development strategies are firmly embedded in the services and professional sectors. Here, though, there is an increasing focus on the importance of continuing education and training, with the growing implementation of open and distance learning programmes, in for example the banks. The major crisis at a strategic level is in industry. Changes in the structure of industry and the cost of German reunification led to a debate at the beginning of the 1990s over the expense of maintaining the dual system. At the same time in the Eastern Länder, faced with a gross shortage of company based training places due to economic collapse, the government financed the establishment of training centres outside the companies. By December 1997 there were 16,000 ‘central training places’ at 78 different locations, established at the cost of some DM 556 million. There was a clear economic attraction for industry in transferring training from the companies to the public sector. Such pressure was exacerbated by the managerial trend towards outsourcing and the establishment of departmental cost centres.

Many enterprises set up their own independent training companies. Whilst VET provision has traditionally played a stable and independent function within German industry, under the influence of American Human Resource Development theory VET lost that independence and was given a new role in personal and organisational development. The outcomes of this debate are still not clear, and to some extent depend on the resolution of the present crisis of the Dual system. However there are indications that there is a backlash against the outsourcing undertaken at the start of the decade with the emergence of a new paradigm based on learning and work. A number of projects, notably a Modellversuch based at Volkswagen, have begun the process of social modernisation of qualifications, through developing flexibility based on the application of work process knowledge and the development of expertise. At the same time other company-based projects have been looking at the development of more flexible pathways for continuing learning combining academic and vocational qualifications. Academic Work in Training and Development Academic work in Training and development is relatively well established in Germany, compared to many other European countries. It is based on the national research institutions, including the BIBB and the IAB, and a network of university departments. One unusual feature of the German system is that vocational teachers (in the schools) are educated through a Masters degree programme at university. There are some 50 university departments who combine the education of teachers in one or more of thirteen different vocational subject areas, with research into training and development. Although obviously the focus of the research varies between different university departments it tends to have more a subject and work based focus, as opposed to education or sociology, as is often the case in other European universities. Major research themes include: • • • • • The inter-relationship between occupational structures and vocational education and training and qualification needs at a macro and sectoral level; The development of occupational profiles and new curricula – curriculum modernisation and reform; Learning styles and self-directed learning Historical and comparative studies of the development of vocation education and training; Work process knowledge, the development of expertise and anthropocentric work organisation.

A further major focus for academic work is through the Modellversuch or ‘Model Projects’. Two parallel programmes of project development, one for enterprises and the other for schools, were launched in 1971 and is organised by the BIBB in conjunction with both the Federal and Länder authorities. The majority of vocational schools have, at one time or another been involved in a Modellversuch and a considerable number are more or less permanently involved. Thus these projects have grown to take on a role as a milieu for social dialogue between teachers and schools and policy makers and researchers. The aim of the projects is to develop a process of permanent innovation. In terms of research design the

projects originally were ‘quasi-experimental’ in origin, but late in the 1970s adopted an action research approach. In the 1980s this once more evolved to an ‘innovation model’, whilst in 1998 the establishment of a central Programmträgerschaft (Programme Manager) for the school based programme recognised the need to develop networks. Sources of Information on Training and Development The most comprehensive source of information on training and development in Germany is the annual Berufsbildungsbericht. This is an official report on initial and continuing vocational education and training prepared by the BIBB and debated and approved by the social partners and by the Federal Government. Similar reports are produced by the Länder although the content of these reports varies. The BIBB and the IAB both have their own data systems and both undertake extensive publication programmes. Many of the documents are now available in electronic form and can be downloaded over the Internet. Increasingly universities are making key publications available through the World Wide Web. There are two useful ‘cataloguing sites’: the Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF) is developing an online index of publications related to training and development and the Wissenschaftsforum für Bildung und Gesellschaft e.V.(WIFO) in Berlin has developed a site indexing resources and organisations (see appendix, below).

Networks for Training and Development There are a number of important networks in training and development in Germany. is The Berufspädagogic commission for vocational education and training is a section of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Erziehungswissenschaft (DGfE) representing the scientific community. All academic Berufspädagogen (scientists) are members of the DGfE. The Arbeitsgemeinschafts der Hochschulinstitute für gewerblich-technische Berufsbildung (HGTB) is the association of the university institutes for technical vocational education and training. There are three major VET teachers associations: The Gewerkschaft für Erziehung und Wissenschaft, a section of the Deutscher Gewerkschafts Bund, is a trade union movement representing vocational teachers. A more conservative tradition is represented by two professional associations for vocational technical teachers. Every Länd has a Länderausschüsse für BeruflicheBildung bringing together representatives of employers, trade unions and government in order to organise a dialogue at regional level and provide advice for the government. Useful Contacts Bundes Institut fur Berufs Bildung (BIBB) - Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung - Deutches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung - Wissenschaftsforum für Bildung und Gesellschaft e.V. - Institut Technik und Bildung - References

Berufsbildungbericht der Bundesminister für Bildung, Wissenshaft, Forschung, 1997, Bonn Cockrill and Peter Scott, 1997, Vocational education and Training in germany: Trends and Issues, in Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Vol. 49, Number 3, pp337-350
Heidegger and Rauner (1997), Vocational educcation in need of reforms, Ministry of Economics, Technology and Transport, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Dusseldorf