Youth unemployment: dual vocational training increases employment opportunities for young people


25 Nov 2013


EU Priorities 2020
Social Europe & Jobs

Press release

Setting up a dual vocational training system in countries with high youth unemployment is desirable, but the system needs to be adapted to country-specific circumstances in order to be effective, recommends the Bertelsmann Stiftung.


Brussels/Gütersloh – 25 November 2013. Many countries with high youth unemployment are currently looking to adopt the German dual vocational training system as a tool to increase chances of young people in the labor market. In fact, youth unemployment rates in Germany (7.7%), Austria (8.7%) and the Netherlands (11.7%), all countries with dual vocational training systems, are the lowest in the European Union and well below the EU-average (23.3%).

“The German dual vocational training system provides excellent employment opportunities for young people and is highly regarded. But simply copying the German system in other countries is not a winning strategy”, said Jörg Dräger, Member of the Board of the Bertelsmann Stiftung. “It is essential to learn both at school and the workplace and to involve employers when developing the curriculum of vocational training. These key elements can be incorporated into other existing training systems.”

“Efforts to copy the German system as a whole with its historically developed institutional structure have little prospects of success”, added Dieter Euler, renowned vocational education expert and author of a study on the possibilities to transfer the German dual vocational training system to other countries. The study was commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and presented in Brussels on 25 November 2013. Euler continued: “Countries looking to reform vocational training along the lines of the German model should adapt the system to their specific needs. They should also learn from other countries with dual vocational training such as Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.”

In the study, Euler presents an alternative approach to a 1:1 transfer by dividing the dual system into eleven essential elements, which can be implemented individually. Among these elements are the dual principle of alternating learning situations in schools (theory) and companies (practice), the partnership between government and the business community in carrying out vocational education as well as quality standards for vocational training.


The study is available here:



Clemens Wieland

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Phone: +49 173 285 14 81



About the Bertelsmann Stiftung


The Bertelsmann Stiftung is dedicated to serving the common good. It executes projects in the areas of education, business and social affairs, health, and international relations, and strives to promote peaceful coexistence among the world's diverse cultures. Through the example of its civic engagement, it wants to encourage others to support their own communities as well. Founded in 1977 as a registered charity, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is majority shareholder of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. Structured as a private operating foundation, it is politically nonpartisan and works independently of Bertelsmann’s corporate operations.



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The Bertelsmann Stiftung, based in Gütersloh, Germany, is an independent, private
operating foundation in accordance with Section 1 of North Rhine-Westphalia's Foundation Law.
The district government of Detmold serves as its supervisory authority.
Founder: Reinhard Mohn
Chairman of the Board of Trustees: Prof. Dr. Werner J. Bauer
Executive Board: Aart De Geus (Chair), Liz Mohn (Vice Chair), Dr. Jörg Dräger, Dr. Brigitte Mohn