Berlin In view of the shrinking population, further training is considered to be the key to tackling the growing shortage of skilled workers. But despite the federal government’s continuing education strategy, only every 100th person who completes vocational training receives a scholarship to qualify as a master craftsman or technician.
This means that the proportion is only half that of the students: two per cent of the gifted students receive a scholarship from the federal funding agency for promotion or scholarship in Germany. Also, young specialists, especially those with a migration background, are under-represented in subsequent education grants.
This is demonstrated by the federal government’s response to a small request from the FDP parliamentary group, which is exclusively available to Handelsblatt. Jens Brandenberg, a spokeswoman for the Liberal Party for Vocational Training, said the federal government should “ultimately better promote talent in vocational training.” “Many of Sunday’s lectures on strengthening professional development must be followed by action: we must address the imbalance between students and vocational training and significantly increase funding for continuing education grants,” he told Handelsblatt.
The federal government launched a national continuing education strategy in 2019 – rarely since. Education Minister Anja Karlikjek (CDU) recently approved a coalition agreement to go ahead with the national education platform already announced.
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In the last few years, about 6,000 young specialists under the age of 25 have received additional training grants, for example to further qualify as a skilled craftsman or technician or to continue their studies. The cost of the measurement itself, the cost of travel, the cost of execution at the place of measurement and the work equipment are paid for.
The maximum amount of funding was increased to a total of 8100 euros in 2020 – a recent average of 4348 euros per scholarship holder.
Since its inception in 1991, 145,000 young professionals have been financed with a total of 500 million euros. The Federal Ministry of Education has an annual budget of about 30 million euros for this fund.
Bad prospects for immigrants
Scholarship holders with a migration background are under-represented – although they often choose the path of a vocational training, criticizing Brandenburg. According to the federal government, about 15 percent of the grant went to immigrants. On the other hand, the share of their applicants for vocational training is now 30 per cent, of which refugees are even 36 per cent.
Noting that immigrants sometimes face special difficulties, liberals claim: “Talent is not only measured by the results of the final test, but also by the particularly impressive path to this goal. This should be taken into account when addressing and selecting recipients in person. “
Further education grants are awarded to “talented” applicants – as a rule, they require a final grade of at least 1.9. Alternatively, they may be offered advice from their company or vocational school.
Significantly fewer scholarship holders go abroad
The proportion of scholarship going abroad has dropped significantly: in the 1990s it was still close to 15 percent – now it is only six percent. “At a time of globalization of work, this is a worrying development,” said Brandenburg’s FDP MP. “In addition to the larger internal arrangements, the scholarship should allow for more opportunities for experience abroad. Academic scholarships often support staying abroad with additional funding. Why not make it possible for professional development as well?”
It’s not clear how many young people actually apply for more education grants – and how much support is known. There is no information in this regard, it has been said in response to the request. However, the power of financing is “appropriate from the point of view of the federal government,” the education ministry said.
Neither a completion rate is recorded, nor is there a ratio of fully or partially performed digitally. An evaluation of the program is planned for 2022.
Currently, scholarship holders are almost exclusively financially supported – but the ministry plans to set up “standard support”, such as seminars, training courses and network meetings, offered by talented support organizations for their student scholarship holders. The health profession already has pilot projects.
Scholarships are administered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) and the Chamber of Crafts. The Vocational Education and Training Foundation (SBB) is responsible for specialist care in the healthcare sector. Information can be found at www.weiterbildungsstipendium.de.
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