Initial and continuing vocational education and training in Germany


The occupational structure in Germany is undergoing constant change. Helpful guidance is now available in the form of an updated GOVET brochure entitled: “Initial and continuing vocational education and training. A summary of vocational training opportunities in Germany”.

The German occupational system has perpetually been subject to continuous shifts because of technological and societal developments. It is also governed by various regulations which are not always easily comprehensible or readily apparent. Distinctions are drawn between regulated and non-regulated occupations and professions, between academic and non-academic qualifications, between training programmes that are governed by federal law and by federal state law and programmes which are non-regulated, and between dual and school-based programmes. Some training programmes are state recognised, whereas others are not. This rapidly gives rise to the questions of how “occupation” can be defined in the first place and of how individual training courses are delineated from one another.

GOVET, the German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training, produced a brochure back in October 2020 which lists and explains a plethora of initial and continuing training opportunities in Germany. An updated version has now been published with the aim of providing a compact summary of the different education and training programmes. The brochure can also be searched via an index of keywords. The contents extend beyond initial training to present the possibilities offered by continuing training. The reference levels of the German Qualifications Framework (DQR) serve as an outline.

GOVET acts as the main point of contact for all questions relating to German and international VET cooperation and also takes on an active role in helping to shape these issues. GOVET receives enquiries on a daily basis from domestic and foreign parties who are interested in the dual vocational education and training system. The information for the brochure has been compiled from publications issued by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB). Collaboration has also taken place with other specialist bodies with responsibility in the area.