Dual vocational training

Berufsausbildung Enlarge image (© dpa/picture-alliance) The German dual system of vocational training makes a great contribution to Germany’s economic strength. Companies and educational institutions cooperate to teach trainees expertise and train them on how to apply this knowledge within the companies.

The dual system, with its combination of classroom and business, theory and practice, learning and working, is recognized worldwide as a basic and highly effective model for vocational training. The dual system is firmly established in the German education system, having firm roots dating back to the Middle Ages. Two students of automation technology learning on the job Enlarge image Two students of automation technology get to apply what they've learned at a classroom in a vocational setting. (© picture alliance / dpa)

An essential characteristic of the dual system is the cooperation between largely private companies, on the one hand, and public vocational schools, on the other. This cooperation is regulated by law. The term “dual” also denotes a specific constitutional situation in Germany, where the federal government is responsible for vocational training in the companies, and the federal states (Länder) for the vocational schools. Thus, the German dual system of vocational training combines theory and practice, knowledge and skills, learning and working in a particularly efficient manner.

Dual vocational training in Germany – a successful start to your career

Trainee in kitchen Enlarge image Counting the peas. A trainee cooking a pot of soup at a hotel near Berlin gets on-the-job instruction. (© picture-alliance / ZB) In Germany, more than 50 percent of all students who were college-bound in high school but decided against university apply for vocational training, and many companies participate in vocational training. Companies provide training voluntarily, and often at their own expense, because they believe that this is the best way to meet their own need for skilled staff. Private companies bear two-thirds of the total costs spent every year on (initial) vocational training in Germany – costs which amount to an average of 15,300 euros per trainee per year. Businesses that take part in the practice consider training their own new employees the best form of personnel recruitment. Training companies save on recruitment costs and the cost of new-employee training. They also avoid the latent risk of hiring the wrong employee for the job. The main benefit for trainees is receiving market-relevant training that improves their chances in the labor market while simultaneously improving social skills and developing personality. Finally, the state, too, benefits from the dual system through easing the burden on public budgets by participation of the enterprises and by keeping the workforce up to date.

In recent years, companies have not always managed to fill all of the apprenticeship positions advertised in a number of areas and regions. Some German companies are experiencing a lack of young employees. Not only EU citizens, but also young people from non-EU countries can start their vocational training in Germany in professions with particularly high levels of demand.

After completing their training, trainees stand a good chance of securing a permanent position. They can also obtain additional qualifications to become a master craftsman or technician. Moreover, the master craftsman’s certificate entitles the bearer to enrol in a course of studies at a German university of applied sciences or university.

As countries with internationally competitive economic, scientific and technological capacities, Canada and Germany have a strong strategic interest in the best concepts for qualification. Both countries design education and training based on the economic and societal demands of lifelong-learning, which focus on competencies and employability, as well as the promotion of transparent and transferable qualifications and the broadening of career paths.

If you are interested in the German vocational training system or international cooperation or if you want to know how dual vocational training works in Germany in practice or how to find competent partners to cooperate with, please contact the German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training for expert advice.


Office for International Cooperation

Dual vocational training

Schüler im Klassenzimmer

Dual training schemes in Germany - making a successful career start

(© AA)

For success, you need theory AND practise. Germany's dual system of vocational training is one of the most successfull elements of the country's education system, training people in factories and at college. We take a closer look at the concept.

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)


BIBB is a centre of excellence for vocational research and for the progressive development of vocational education and training in Germany. It works to stimulate innovation in national and international vocational systems and develop new, practice-oriented solutions.

iMOVE: Training - Made in Germany

Training - Made in Germany

iMOVE is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to promote and facilitate global business and co-operation between German training providers and international public and private organisations. iMOVE is a section of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, providing collaboration opportunities and helping to establish contacts with high-ranking officials and individuals from the education sector.