DEQA-VET: Structure of VET in Germany

Structure of VET in Germany

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) has overall responsibility for VET strategy. It is responsible for the Vocational Education and Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz, BBiG), last reformed in 2005, publishes an annual VET report, funds and steers the German Federal Institute for VET (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, BIBB) and is responsible for programmes to improve VET. It also has responsibility for the in-company training part of the dual system. Individual qualifications are endorsed by specialised ministries (often the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie, BMWi) but need the agreement of the BMBF.

The Länder have sole responsibility for the part-time VET schools of the dual system and the full-time VET schools. They design the school curricula, train and pay the teachers and are responsible for legal supervision of the Chambers (Rechtsaufsicht). Due to this primary responsibility of the Länder for cultural and educational matters (Kulturhoheit) there is substantial variation across states with regard to the organisation and content of teaching in the school part of the dual system.

The social partners are closely engaged in the design and provision of VET. They are involved in the development and updating of the ordinances (formally issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology) and determine apprenticeship salaries through collective wage negotiations. The Economic Chambers are responsible for providing advisory services to participating companies and supervising company-based training. The Chambers also register apprenticeship contracts, assess the suitability of training firms and monitor their training, assess the aptitude of VET trainers, provide advice to training firms and apprentices, and organise and carry out the final exams.

The responsibility for funding vocational schools lies with the Länder (mainly teacher salaries) and local authorities (equipment, infrastructure), while companies bear the costs of training in the workplace. In some sectors, companies have created a general fund to which all companies pay contributions and through which the costs for the apprenticing institution are covered, while in other sectors each company bears its own costs. Overall, the biggest share of the costs for dual system VET falls to training firms. In 2007 employers spent EUR 14.7 billion on VET (net costs including apprentice salaries but after productive gains) while the Länder spent EUR 2.9 billion on VET schools. The Federal government and the Employment Service (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) provide additional VET funding.


(Extracts from: Hoeckel, Kathrin/ Schwartz, Robert: Learning for Jobs. OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training- Germany 2010)