How Germany loses potential skilled workers


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19-year-old Mohammad from Afghanistan works on the wiring of a control cabinet at the Siemens Professional Education training center.


(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Less than half of the school leavers, around 43 percent, started an apprenticeship or a degree directly after school. A new study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. Every one or every fifth person needed one to two years before starting an apprenticeship or a course of study.

The post-school educational paths of 7168 people who were in the ninth grade in 2010 and who left general education in the following years were analyzed for this purpose. It is obvious that the situation has worsened due to Corona. An earlier Bertelsmann study showed that the current graduates are massively insecure and are delaying a career decision.

As a result, training starts later and later. On average, the graduates examined were almost 20 years old. While could Germany Attract more skilled workers in your own country if more school leavers were to start an apprenticeship or study afterwards.

This is serious for the companies: They are currently urgently looking for trainees. According to the Federal Employment Agency, there were still 182,000 unfilled apprenticeship positions at the end of August. The slower transition often increases the risk of failure, the authors warn: “Not least in view of the prevailing shortage of skilled workers, we must do everything we can to enable young people to start training or studies directly, i.e. to make the transition safe.”

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The state training guarantee canceled by the traffic light coalition could do this, said Claudia Burkard, training expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation. You can create the legal basis for “that every young person who wants to be trained gets an offer of training.”

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According to the study, existing support measures on the threshold between school and training or university studies “do not help all young people by a long shot”.


(Photo: dpa)

Of the graduates examined, only 43 percent had a first professional qualification four years after leaving school. A bachelor’s degree or an apprenticeship usually lasts three years. The situation was dramatic for a seventh of the youngsters: 15 percent had not yet managed to get started after four years or discontinued training after a short time.

Unskilled people have poorer chances on that labour market

Experts like Burkard warn that these findings are alarming: “The figures mean that, given the approximately 750,000 school leavers who leave school every year, more than 100,000 young people are at risk of remaining without a vocational qualification in the long term. As unskilled, they have poor chances on the job market. And with that, low income, few opportunities for advancement and later a tight pension.”

>> Read here: More and more young people are getting bogged down in unskilled jobs – even though tens of thousands of apprenticeships remain empty

Among these school leavers were an above-average number of people with a low school qualification, from poor families or with a migration background. The situation was particularly critical for young adults who had no more than a lower secondary school leaving certificate: Four years after leaving general school, 27 percent of women and 20 percent of men were not yet in regular training.

In order to prevent delays in the career choice decision and subsequent dropouts, “we need stronger career orientation in all types of schools,” demands Burkard. The economy has been pushing for this for a long time.

Listen to the Rethink Work podcast here: From Hartz IV child to entrepreneur

According to the study, the existing support measures at the threshold between school and training or studies “do not help all young people by a long shot”. For example, of the many school leavers “who have completed at least one measure in the so-called transitional sector for supposed job preparation, only two-thirds actually took the next step in an apprenticeship”. Such a measure can be a basic vocational training year, which often takes place at vocational schools.

According to data from the Federal Institute for Vocational Training (BIBB), in 2021 there were still 228,000 young people in this transition area. For comparison: In the same year, 473,000 young people began an apprenticeship. For the study, experts from the Universities of Göttingen and Hamburg evaluated data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS).

More: Foreign skilled workers wait months for their qualifications to be recognised



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