In recent years, there has been a particularly noticeable increase in the use of informal forms of further training – informational events, learning on the job and self-directed learning using (electronic) media. Last year German businesses invested 33.5 billion euros in further training. Of this, 17.6 billion euros went on direct costs such as course fees and teachers’ remuneration, a nominal increase of 11 per cent over 2013. On average, every employee spent 17.3 hours in further training. Small businesses are less likely to conduct or sponsor further training, but those that do spend more time and money per capita than larger firms. Both voluntary agreements, which can take account of a company’s specific circumstances, and binding collective agreements, which can provide a higherlevel framework for the training, encourage commitment to continuing vocational education.