The scientists of the competence field Vocational Education and Professionals analyze what contribution vocational training makes to companies.
The focus is on the dual system of vocational education and training with its two learning venues of company and vocational school. The researchers are investigating how dual training can be further developed to meet the challenges of economic structural change, demographic development, internationalization and the increasing demands of the world of work. They are also identifying trends in in-company continuing education and analyzing how lifelong learning can be promoted.
The researchers analyse the German dual VET system, which combines school-based and work-based learning. They also investigate trends in supply and demand of apprenticeship positions and how VET can remain sustainable and attractive for both young people and enterprises.
Topics in this area include the rate and extent of companies’ activities in continuing vocational training, e.g., by providing refresher courses or other forms of lifelong learning. Every three years IW researchers conduct the representative “IW Continuing Vocational Training Study”.
Skilled workers are vital for the success of German enterprises. Research on the availability or shortages of skilled workers as well as potential solutions to this problem – in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) –are major topics of the research unit.
In particular due to the low youth unemployment rates the interest of other countries in the German dual VET system is growing. Therefore, researchers exchange regularly with representatives of other countries how dual elements in VET can be strengthened. Furthermore, the research unit provides information about foreign VET systems and foreign qualifications (bq-portal.de) in order to provide more transparency for companies and to support the competent bodies in the equivalence assessment. Many of the topics of the research unit are closely connected to other research units concerned with schooling, academic qualifications, or migration issues, inter alia. The main focus is on Germany. However, in many topics, there is a strong connection to European policy-making (e.g., concerning the implementation of "dual" elements abroad). We contribute our expertise to the public and political debate.
Some of the demands made by the political parties in their election programs for the federal elections are specifically aimed at increasing the demand for and supply of vocational education and training. In this analysis, the measures are evaluated economically based on empirical data and previous research findings.
Demographic change has been foreseeable for a long time, but has not always led to forward-looking policies. This study shows that demographic change is accelerating significantly and thus requires decisive and timely action.
The technology driven development of business models is of great importance for the future of vocational education and training. Digital competencies - such as digital literacy, interaction, collaboration, and learning - are an indispensable part of vocational training for a modern working world to qualify future skilled workers for their professional life.
Digitalisation is leading to an increasing need for training. Companies which have already achieved a higher level of digitalisation see a greater need for further training than their less digitalised peers and are investing correspondingly more time and money in training their workforce.
The demographic transition is confronting Germany with a growing shortage of skilled workers. In a simple, static labor market model, wages in occupations where the demand for labor is high should rise at an above-average rate to restore market equilibrium.