Hands-on: How can young people be inspired to take up an apprenticeship?
The dual education system in Germany not only enjoys a high reputation worldwide, but also serves as a key to the professional world. However, this career entry seems to be becoming increasingly unattractive, and there is a clear oversupply of appren-ticeships. Currently, there are 1.19 positions per applicant (Federal Agency of Em-ployment 2021). Companies are increasingly complaining about difficulties in finding suitable trainees, a situation that was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic (Freuding und Garnitz 2021; Brandt 2020).
But even beyond apprenticeships, many companies in Germany have problems find-ing qualified specialists. This shortage of skilled workers has increased significantly in recent years and is now affecting large parts of the economy. Occupations in the skilled trades, the metal and electrical industries, and the STEM sector are particular-ly affected. The care sector and the hospitality industry are also experiencing a wide-spread shortage of skilled workers. One reason for this is the increasing aging of soci-ety (Marjenko et al. 2021, KfW Research 2021).
To counteract these problems, there are numerous proposed solutions that are al-ready being applied in everyday school life: They include school-based career orien-tation programs, such as company tours, lectures, or taster weeks (Flake et al. 2017). These provide an opportunity for students to get to know companies and vice versa. In addition, internships can help to concretize career ideas. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, a broader range of digital information – such as virtual training exchanges, digital speed dating and online training fairs – also came to the fore (DIHK 2021). Since both parents and teachers have a major influence on young peoples’ career choices, companies should also actively involve them.
There are already numerous considerations and strategies to counter the shortage of skilled workers and, in particular, to make training more attractive. Are these efforts reaching young people?
What additional measures do pupils want in order to obtain a comprehensive over-view and make a suitable choice? And how can these implementations contribute to counteracting the shortage of skilled workers (in the long term)? These problems should be worked out together with the pupils – if necessary with the help of surveys – in order to give them an easier start into the professional world.