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What have we learned?

Thursday, 29 November 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tasveera Singh
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At the invitation of Kreishandwerkerschaft Steinfurt-Wardendorf, our training manager, together with other delegates from South Africa were invited to a study trip to get an insight into the dual vocational training system in Germany.

The main objectives of Kreishandwerkerschaft include:

  • Promotion and representation of commercial and social interests of members,
  • Control and monitoring of apprenticeship training and examinations,
  • Support of the skills of master craftsmen,
  • Support of young people in vocational orientation, vocational preparation and training support,
  • Ensure high quality education and training for the artisan sector,

The German Dual Education System has gained global recognition. The combination and practical training in the workplace, complimented by theoretical training at a vocational school is the success of the system. As a result of this system, Germany boasts the lowest unemployment rate of 16 to 24-year olds in Europe.

The study trip included visits to small and medium-size construction businesses, vocational schools and local government.

The business entities visited had several similarities, viz.

  • Every business employed qualifies, trade tested artisans and very interestingly, every employed has indentured apprentices. These are predominantly teenagers who had already, during their grade 9 year been through an “internship” with the employer during school holidays,
  • All apprenticeships are initiated by the employer,
  • Every business employs a master craftsman.

The vocational schools are all exceptionally well equipped. An interesting observation is the involvement of business in the schools. Firstly, all schools visited testified that the local industry impacts on the curriculum of the school and that such intervention is approved by government. Secondly, manufactures also impact directly on the quality and direction of education by ensuring that their latest products are used in the schools. Over and above this, educationists employed by manufacturers partner with schools and teach on the use of their products.

The apprentice is supported by three entities, viz. the employer, the vocational school and Kreishandwerkerschaft.

  • The employer provides practical training, mentorship and pays the apprentice.
  • The vocational school provides theoretical and practical training and is funded by the state.
  • Kreishandwerkerschaft provides practical support to apprentices and is funded by employers and the state.

What we have seen in action is a very strong social partnership between state, business, education the German citizenry. This partnership is evident in the pride which one can see and feel amongst these various partners.

The lessons that can be extracted from this study tour are:

  • A society that works together is able to attain great heights,
  • Business plays a critical role in the education and training of its immediate community,
  • The skills required for business to thrive is the responsibility of society in its entirety.

Victor Smith | Training Manager

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