The researchers in the Research Unit Vocational Qualification and Skilled Workers analyse what contribution vocational education and training makes to the economy and society, and to what extent it succeeds in securing the supply of skilled workers for companies. The aim is to make vocational education and training future-oriented in order to better meet the requirements accompanying the transformation of the economy with structural change and ecological change, demographic development and internationalisation, as well as the increasing demands of the working environment that are associated with these developments.
The focus is on the dual system of vocational education and training with its two learning venues: company and vocational school. The researchers are investigating how dual training can be further developed in order to make even better use of the potential of the next generation in vocational qualification. In addition, the thematic cluster will analyse trends in in-company continuing vocational training and digital education in order to identify ways in which lifelong and digital learning can be intensified. Since international skilled workers are becoming increasingly important in securing skilled labour, the thematic cluster analyses foreign vocational training systems and vocational qualifications and makes them available in a user-friendly form in order to enable users to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new skilled labour immigration law. The thematic cluster analyses the skilled labour situation on the basis of the specially developed IW skilled labour database, surveys within the framework of the IW personnel panel and statistical evaluations as well as qualitative survey methods.
The success of the German business model is based, among other things, on the cooperation of academically and vocationally qualified workers. Currently, companies are having increasing problems finding enough qualified workers - especially in IT professions, in nursing and social work, in the traditional crafts and in metal and electrical professions. Demographic change will further exacerbate these shortages, since in this decade alone five million more older people will leave the labour market than young people entering it. In order to show companies these developments and the resulting need for action, the IW is realising the project "Competence Centre Securing Skilled Labour" on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The project offers human resources managers from small and medium-sized enterprises guidelines for action and examples from everyday business life.
Until a few years ago, the dominant concern was whether all school leavers would get an apprenticeship. Nowadays however, companies are having great problems finding enough suitable trainees. The researchers working on this topic are therefore investigating how to get more young people interested in vocational education and how to improve career guidance and the transitions between school, training and the labour market. In order to improve data availability, they have developed an integrated reporting system that presents an overall view of the educational pathways in vocational education and training. Further research focuses on the question of how vocational training can be designed to match the demand for skilled workers even better and how it can be structurally and organisationally aligned for this purpose.
Companies continuously train their employees and thus support them in their development. The digital and ecological transformation and the structural change require even more intensive and flexible continous education and training. In order to determine the form, scope and intensity of in-company continuing education as well as the corresponding expenditures of the companies, the researchers have been conducting the IW Continuing Education Survey every three years since 1992. The survey shows which factors benefit supply and demand, which inhibit them and how politics can support lifelong learning in the workplace.
Although the state of digitalisation in companies is currently still very heterogeneous, the digital transformation is having an impact on all areas of the working environment. Digital technologies and increased interconnectedness of value creation are changing the tasks performed. Digital education and training ensures that skilled workers acquire the necessary skills to successfully shape the digital transformation.
Vocational training staff play an important role in implementing digital innovations in training. The project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education "NETZWERK Q 4.0 - Network for the Qualification of Vocational Training Staff in the Digital Transformation" develops customised qualification offers for this target group. It is a joint project of the IW, the Bildungswerke der Wirtschaft and other educational institutions. The aim is to qualify training staff for the digital transformation across the board and to create a nationwide standard for the qualification of vocational training staff. In addition, the project includes annual monitoring of the level of digitalisation in vocational training via the IW personnel panel.
Skilled labour shortages are noticeable in more and more sectors of the economy. Companies can therefore use the potential of international skilled workers at home and abroad. People in Germany with a foreign vocational qualification who do not work in their original profession can be guided into qualified employment by means of the Recognition Act. The recruitment of skilled workers from abroad succeeds on the basis of an established welcoming culture. Knowledge about the professions learned abroad is crucial so that companies can assess which competencies foreign applicants with a vocational qualification possess. In order to create transparency and support recognition practice, the researchers in the thematic cluster describe foreign vocational training systems and the corresponding initial and continuing training courses on the BQ-Portal - the information portal for foreign vocational qualifications.
Another focus of this research area is comparative vocational education and training (VET) research. The researcher regularly discuss with representatives from other countries how dual elements in vocational education and training can be strengthened - for example within the framework of IW membership in the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) or in the Economic Policy Forum (EPF), a network of think tanks from emerging economies and industrialised nations.
The organisation of all-day care for primary school children varies greatly from region to region in Germany. In most of the eastern German states it takes place mainly in after-school care centres, which are part of the child and youth welfare services, whereas in North Rhine-Westphalia these functions are taken over by the open all-day schools.
The demographic transition is expected to leave Germany with a serious shortage of skilled workers. To alleviate this bottleneck, more young people from abroad should be trained at German universities and offered the prospect of long-term residence.
Innovation ecosystems are increasingly complex and diverse, but there are common markers of core strength. In this report, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the German Economic Institute, the Institute for Competitiveness, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute benchmark 96 states and provinces across Germany, Italy, the United States, and Canada.
In order to master the ecological transformation of the real economy, many qualified specialists will be needed in the coming years.
The contact reduction measures during the Corona pandemic had a strong impact on everyday life in the German dual system of vocational training. Regarding the work-based training within the companies, the question arises as to which extent distance learning and remote working could be organized at short notice for the apprentices.