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Migrant youth trainees. The modernized Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz or BBiG) comes into force on 1 January 2020 with the introduction of a minimum stipend for trainees /Photo: © BSW Anlagenbau und Ausbildung GmbH

Migrant youths have poor training opportunities in Germany – new report

In Germany, the number of open apprenticeships is growing, along with an increasing number of unsuccessful applicants. Experts call for regionally coordinated solutions.

The number of young people starting vocational training has risen again in Germany like in recent years.

However, despite this positive development, companies and young people seeking training are not finding one another, according to the Bertelsmann Foundation’s new report “Ländermonitor Berufliche Bildung 2019”, published on Wednesday in Gütersloh.

For example, 79,000 young people unsuccessfully sought an apprenticeship last year, while 58,000 apprenticeship slots remained vacant.

The reasons for the problem are manifold, the report said. In 44 per cent of the cases, either the companies did not consider the applicants suitable for training or the young people did not find the companies attractive enough.

For one third of the vacant slots, there were simply no applicants for the training offered. This applied particularly to the food trade or the hotel & catering industry, the report said.

In about a quarter (23 percent) of vacant positions, the problem lied in a lack of mobility because the companies and applicants are located in different regions of the same federal state. This applied in particular to Bavaria and Saxony.

Overall, the study shows an improved situation in the training market for young people. In 2009, there were almost 89 jobs per 100 trainees on the average, while there are almost 97 today. However, according to the study, there are large regional differences: Especially in the south and east of Germany, there are regions with a surplus of training places.

In Bavaria’s Passau, for example, there were 129 open positions for 100 applicants and 112 in Altenburg-Gera, Thuringia. Trainee slots, on the other hand, were scarce in the western and northwestern regions of the country. In Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, there were only 80 apprenticeship slots available to 100 applicants.

Pupils leaving Lower Secondary schools (Hauptschule) and those with a migration background continue to have poor training opportunities, according to the study. In 2017, only 37 percent of Lower Secondary school leavers started training. For applicants with a migration background, it was 44 percent.

The chairman of the Executive Board of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Jörg Dräger, called for solutions tailored to each region. For example, small businesses needed support to fill their apprenticeship vacancies. In addition, it was important to improve the framework conditions in the less popular occupations, he added. It would also be helpful to intensify the contacts between schools and companies and thus facilitate the transition from school to training.

Especially against the background of the imminent shortage of skilled workers in Germany, Dräger warned against a deep dichotomy in the training market: “We need to strengthen the integration power of the training system.” He suggested that the structuring of the publicly-funded transition system should be further developed for structurally weak regions such as the Ruhr.

Femi Awoniyi

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