Dual training is not a new concept. If you are the type of person who prefers to learn things by doing them, Germany has a fine-tuned vocational education and training system to ensure approximately half a million young Germans enter the workforce annually.
The main characteristic of this dual system is cooperation between mainly small and medium sized companies, on the one hand, and publicly funded vocational schools, on the other.
The programs provide a steady stream of highly qualified workers that help Germany maintain a reputation for producing top-quality products in the manufacturing industry.
Trainees in the dual system typically spend part of each week at a vocational school and the other part at a company, or they may spend longer periods at each place before alternating. Dual training usually lasts two to three-and-a-half years.
But how have they got this right? The company agrees to take on the apprentice, pays them a modest wage while they learn the ins-and-outs of the product, they are also guided to learn the ‘soft skills’ of working with colleagues and in teams. It is estimated that by the second year an apprentice is contributing as much labour and knowledge as 60% of a full time skilled employee. The true benefit to the company is that after 3 years they have a highly skilled worker in their organisation.
In Germany, about 50 percent of all school-leavers undergo vocational training provided by companies which consider the dual system the best way to secure skilled staff.
There is also still a lot of prestige attached when someone qualifies through an apprenticeship. The newly competent “Meister” receives an increase in stature and respect from their colleagues and recognition from their community.
Felix Rauner, professor at the University of Bremen and one of the world’s leading authorities on apprenticeships and vocational education says “If someone gets a meister title, it would be published in the local newspaper and there’s a huge celebration. It is an important event,” Rauner continues “no one in Germany is interested if someone gets a master degree in a university.”
There are currently around 330 occupations requiring formal training in Germany. The training, testing and certificates are standardised in all industries throughout the country. This ensures that all apprentices receive the same training regardless of region and company. Moreover, employers have trust in these certificates as they provide evidence of what an individual knows and is able to do. Trade Unions, companies and educational institutions co-ordinate this excellent approach to vocational training.
Australia is moving closer to this dual system with it becoming evident that not all university graduates are able to find work immediately after university. Students are looking inward and, employers outward. A recent worldwide study found that graduates ranked ‘creativity’ as the number one skill that employers want, employers, on the other hand, went down a far more practical route: problem solving. And although on the surface this might seem like a small problem, the disconnect can have a flow-on effect as the expectation is very different from both parties. All companies surveyed stated that more on the job training would be appreciated by both graduates and employers.
If you are the kind of person who enjoys looking back and seeing what you have accomplished, while gaining the academic knowledge you need to progress in your chosen profession, then considering an apprenticeship or becoming a trainee could be right for you. There is the opportunity to earn while you learn and become the “meister” of your own destiny.
Here at Smart Employment Solutions, we help you with the whole process, by recruiting suitable candidates, paying their wages, coordinating apprentice training, as well as undertaking performance monitoring. We take care of all the paperwork for you. Contact Smart Employment Solutions today, to discuss what an apprentice could do for you or your business!