USAG Ansbach introduces unique German dual vocational training program with the first two ‘Azubis’ in September

By Gerlinde HoyleFebruary 8, 2022

USAG Ansbach introduces unique German dual vocational training program with the first two ‘Azubis’ in September
The local Chamber of commerce (IHK) certifies companies as suitable for the dual vocational training program (Photo Credit: Gerlinde Hoyle) VIEW ORIGINAL

ANSBACH, Germany (Feb. 3, 2022) - September 2022 will be the first time in the history of the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach that host nation school graduates will get the opportunity to undergo a dual vocational training program, called “Duale Ausbildung,” which translates to apprenticeship here.

The host nation (HN) workforce on average in U.S. Army garrisons around Europe is aging dramatically. As an analysis by the Directorate of Human Resources at USAG Ansbach shows, the average HN employee here is 49 years old. Within the next seven years one fifth of the HN workforce will retire. This will leave the garrison with a shortage of qualified and skilled personnel.

At the same time, the labor market in Germany is very competitive and skilled workers are very hard to find. A recent study by the German Competence Center for Skilled Workers (KOFA) showed: “There is a shortage of around 65,000 skilled craftsmen nationwide. In the south and northwest of Germany in particular, the skilled trades are urgently looking for personnel.”

At USAG Ansbach, in an initiative to attract young HN employees, an indigenous German employment training program will start this fall. In cooperation with the local Chamber of Commerce, the dual vocational training system (Duale Ausbildung) – will be implemented.

Based on century-old tradition of the trades, guilds, and craftsmen associations, the modern dual vocational training system is characterized by training at the workplace, supplemented by vocational schooling. The training company teaches the

trainees, Auszubildende, or Azubis, as they are commonly referred to, three to four days per week ‘on the job’, while the vocational school provides the theoretical academic lectures on one or two days of the week and complements the in-company training, all over a duration of two to three years. This dual training system is not limited to private companies, but is common throughout the German public sector as well.

The big advantage of this system is that the Azubis are integrated in the daily work processes of a company from the beginning of their training. They learn their trade from experienced trainers within the business from the ground up. The trainers are usually experienced, respected employees, who teach and mentor the Azubis to become valuable, beneficial members of the company.

The German government boasts the dual training system on its website, : “The training system in Germany is a model of success. It plays a key role in ensuring that Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union.”

Also typical for Germany are the strict regulatory requirements to qualify as an eligible training organization. The company or agency has to register with the local chamber of commerce (IHK).

As the IHK Nürnberg explains: “The basis for in-company vocational training is the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) and the relevant training ordinance. All skills, knowledge and abilities specified therein must be imparted during the scheduled training period.” According to the IHK, “Azubis may only be hired and trained if the training facility is suitable for vocational training in terms of type and equipment, and the number of trainees is in reasonable proportion to the number of skilled workers employed (usually two to three skilled workers per trainee).”

At USAG Ansbach, Uwe Wagner, the workforce development specialist for the garrison, leads the effort to introduce the Azubi program. After obtaining the necessary registration with the Chamber of Commerce (IHK), USAG Ansbach designated and certified their own trainers.

Wagner is looking forward to the first two training positions (Ausbildungsstellen) to be announced on the Civilian Personnel Online (CPOL) website. “We will be recruiting for two Azubis for office management clerks (Kaufmann/Kauffrau für Büromanagement).”

Wagner continues, “For this initial project, two reasons were decisive; the immediate availability of certified trainers in the white collar profession and the need for young professional in white collar professions in the near future due to mandatory retirements of current employees.”

All garrison directors participated in a training briefing, since the Azubis will work in each directorate for several months to get to know the various operations. Optimally they will accept a position of their individual interest upon graduating the program in about three years.

The USAG Ansbach positions are on the HN portion of the CPOL website and encourages young graduates to apply for this first-time opportunity.

About the dual training system in Germany:

Dual vocational training with the combination of in-company on-the-job training and vocational schooling was not the result of conscious planning. For a long time, on-the-job teaching and vocational schooling were developed independently of each other. The dual principle of vocational training was first laid down in the Gewerbeverordnungsnovelle" (Trade Regulation Amendment) of 1897. In 1923, the term "vocational school" was introduced in Prussia. The term "dual system" of vocational training was not coined until 1964 by the German Committee for Education and Training. It drew up an "Expert Report on the Vocational Training and School System." In 1969, the Vocational Training Act provided decisive impetus for dual vocational training.