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over-academicization? More and more high school graduates are doing an apprenticeship


Is Germany threatened with over-academicization? A recent study shows that politics and business should not focus on high school graduates when warning about the shortage of skilled workers - but on a completely different group.

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Apprenticeship as a roofer: Around half of the high school graduates opt for an apprenticeship (symbol image)


Michael Reichel / picture alliance / dpa

The accusation from politics and business goes something like this: While Germany urgently needs more roofers and train drivers, too many young people prefer to go to university to study business administration or German studies.

The Union regularly warns of "over-academicization" and speaks of "academization mania".

Craft President Hans Peter Wollseifer even called for a "turnaround in education" last year because fewer and fewer people were enthusiastic about an apprenticeship.

This narrative is widespread but points in the wrong direction.

This is suggested by a study that will be presented this Tuesday.

According to this, a growing number of high school graduates are opting for vocational training.

In the past ten years, the proportion of those who start dual or school-based training with their Abitur has increased from 35 percent in 2011 to 47.4 percent in 2021.

This is the result of the "Training Monitor" that the Research Institute for Educational and Social Economics (FiBS) created on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation.

“There can be no question of a lack of attractiveness of vocational training for high school graduates,” says Dieter Dohmen, FiBS director and author of the study, “nor that high school graduates are not interested enough in vocational training. « In the meantime, almost half of the school-leaving year are aiming for vocational training.

Young people with little school education have fewer and fewer opportunities

However, the training monitor also shows that the total number of training contracts has fallen significantly.

While in 2007, the last high, 844,000 training positions were newly established, according to the information, there were only 706,000 in 2021;

a ten percent drop.

According to the study, however, the decline cannot be explained by the fact that too many young people with a high school diploma are striving to go to university.

Instead, despite the lack of skilled workers and numerous vacant training positions, young people with little schooling have increasingly poor chances of finding a training position.

Clemens Wieland, education expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation, warns that this group is "more and more sidelined".

  • According to the study, the number of secondary school graduates has fallen overall, as has the proportion of those doing an apprenticeship.

    Between 2011 and 2021, the proportion of young people with a secondary school leaving certificate who start vocational training fell by a fifth.

  • In the case of school leavers with an intermediate school certificate, the transition rates to vocational training have remained relatively stable at around 80 percent over the past 15 years.

  • Young people without a school-leaving certificate had the lowest transition rates.

    Most recently, in 2021, not even a third of them were able to get an apprenticeship.

In addition, fewer and fewer young people are supported in so-called transitional measures in order to obtain further qualifications, to aim for a higher school qualification or to prepare for an apprenticeship.

In 2005, 417,000 people started such a measure.

In 2021 it was just 225,000, a low.

At first glance, this could be an indication of a positive development.

Finally, fewer young people, including many with high school diplomas, are stuck in programs that many perceive as a waiting pattern before they can get a career start.

In fact, however, there is no evidence that young people are increasingly finding a job directly on the training or labor market instead.

Rather, the number of young people who are neither in training nor in school or in work has increased significantly in recent years, according to the study.

What they do remains unclear.

The English abbreviation for this group is: NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training).

In 2019, 492,000 people were counted among the NEETs in the group of 15 to 24 year olds, compared to 630,000 last year.

more on the subject

  • Brandenburg idea against teacher shortage: What is your profession?

    Education office woman!By Armin Himmelrath

  • Labor market: craft businesses complain about a glaring lack of applicants

  • Citizens' Income Reform: Don't people want to work - or can't they? By Florian Diekmann and Cornelia Schmergal

  • Training and studies: Four years after school, not even half of the young people have a vocational qualification

"The development is dramatic," says Dieter Dohmen.

"Far too many young people get nothing on the training market or fall out of the system altogether." Germany must again significantly increase the integration capability of the training system.

The current draft law on the training guarantee falls far short here.

According to the vocational training report, the rate of so-called unskilled workers between the ages of 20 and 35 was 15.5 percent in 2020, i.e. more than 2.3 million young people.

Around two-thirds of those without a school-leaving certificate remained untrained.

More than a third of the young people with a secondary school certificate were unskilled and had correspondingly poor job opportunities.

The conclusion of the study: »The problem of the training system is not the academization, but the lack of integration of young people with a low school education.«

IW study: Germany threatens to be left behind when it comes to education

The study by the Bertelsmann Foundation is published a few days after the employer-oriented Institute of the German Economy (IW) warned that Germany was at risk of falling behind in education compared to other European countries.

According to an IW analysis, »Germany has to a certain extent lost touch with the very dynamic expansion of education in Europe in recent years.

With regard to the changing demands on the workforce as a result of digitization, it is particularly critical that the proportion of people without a professional qualification is tending to increase.

The proportion of low-skilled people in the population aged between 25 and 34 was only marginally below the EU average of 14.8 percent in 2021.

In addition, the proportion of highly qualified people in Germany is significantly lower at 35.7 percent compared to 41.2 percent (EU average).

The institute conceded that the dual system had to be taken into account: "If you keep an eye on the special position of vocational training in Germany and consider all people with a tertiary or secondary vocational qualification together, the proportion in Germany was still 77.0 percent well above the EU average of 73.4 percent.« However, current statistics signaled that Germany could fall behind.

With material from Reuters

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2023-01-24

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