Companies in Berlin and Bremen should pay a contribution for the apprenticeship

Apprentices at a machine tool

Across Germany, just under a fifth of the companies train themselves.

(Photo: imago images/Rupert Oberhäuser)

Berlin company in Berlin and in Bremen are to pay a training contribution in the future. This is intended to support the training companies, according to the plans of the red-red-green coalitions of both city states. The economy is strictly against the plans.

In Berlin, the left labor senator wants Katja Kipping submit a framework for the allocation by the end of the year. Legally, the levy should not be a problem, as determined by a legal opinion commissioned by Kipping. Accordingly, the federal and state governments have the right to levy such a surcharge.

The left Bremen Senator for Economic Affairs Kristina Vogt is already further. There, the Senate is to decide on the plans in November. Accordingly, all companies should pay into a fund. The aim is for training companies with up to 60 employees to receive more money from the fund than they pay in – 1,500 to 2,500 euros per trainee. Large companies should be asked to pay disproportionately.

Nationwide, a statutory levy is “currently not planned,” assures a spokeswoman for Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP). Greens, SPD and above all the German Trade Union Confederation have wanted such a levy for a long time, but this failed in the coalition negotiations because of the Liberals.

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Instead, the traffic light announced a “training guarantee” in its coalition agreement. The Ministry of Labor is in charge here. However, there are no concrete plans yet. However, the plans in Berlin and Bremen could provide clues as to how a levy could work.

Only in Berlin are there more applicants than training places

The business associations of the two cities are strictly against the plans. However, the situation in the two countries is very different: Berlin is currently the only country in Germany where there are clearly not enough apprenticeships on offer. In Bremen, on the other hand, there is an oversupply.

According to data from the Federal Employment Agency, there were only 78 applicants for every 100 training positions nationwide in August, and only 61 in Bavaria. In the capital, on the other hand, there were 135 applicants. In purely mathematical terms, many therefore have no chance of training, let alone their dream job.

There are actually enough companies in Berlin that could provide training – but they don’t. While almost a fifth of all companies nationwide still train apprentices, in Berlin it is only eleven percent. Therefore, the apprentices in the capital only three percent of all employees subject to social security contributions. In Germany it is almost five percent.

The Berlin Chamber of Commerce nevertheless continues to claim that there is “no gap in apprenticeships” in the capital. In addition, “more than 25 percent of the companies would also provide training if there was an appropriate training capability,” said IHK President Sebastian Stietzel. He refers to the fact that some of the potential trainees are not yet ready for an apprenticeship after they have finished school.

Apprentices in agricultural engineering

Only in Berlin there are more than 100 potential trainees for every 100 apprenticeships, in all other countries there are fewer.

(Photo: imago images/Countrypixel)

In Bremen there are more offers than demand: in August there were 88 applicants for 100 apprenticeships. Therefore – and in view of the training guarantee planned by the federal government anyway – the Bremen levy is a “pointless and unnecessary financial burden for companies”, according to a statement by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Chamber of Crafts and the Hanseatic City’s business association.

Bremen’s Senator for Economic Affairs does not deny that the number of apprenticeship positions is sufficient. However, because some young people are in fact “not ready for training” and many companies cannot provide the necessary support for them, the levy fund should organize help so that these young people can also become skilled workers.

230,000 young people are stuck in the transitional system

The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) is urging “that the planned training guarantee at the federal level also be financed on a pay-as-you-go basis, which does not release companies from responsibility,” DGB Vice President Elke Hannack affirmed an old trade union demand to the Handelsblatt. She points out that more than 200,000 young people got stuck in the measures of the transition area after school.

These include, for example, the years of basic vocational training at vocational schools. That could be Germany no longer afford, according to Hannack. The plans in Berlin and Bremen show “how important it is to create incentives for in-company training. We would also like to see the same courage from the federal government.”

>> Read also: More and more young people are getting stuck in unskilled jobs – at the same time, tens of thousands of apprenticeships in Germany remain vacant. How can that be?

In business, there are already some examples of industry-internal support programs for training companies. A collective agreement has been in force in the chemical industry since 2003, which determines the number of apprenticeship positions. The principle of “training before employment” applies here: This ensures that some companies train more than their own needs for the benefit of the entire industry. A support association supports up to ten trainees per company in small and medium-sized companies with a maximum of 1000 euros each.

There is also a training contribution in the nursing sector: Here, the Nursing Professions Act regulates the nationwide financing of training costs via funds from the federal states.

More: The economy makes it too easy for the training guarantee – a comment

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