BWP 2/2021

Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic

BWP 2/2021

The coronavirus pandemic is also creating major challenges for vocational education and training. These relate to developments on the training market and also to aspects such as distance teaching and learning and training within individual occupations and sectors. As in many areas of society, the crisis has shed an especially clear light on problem situations, while at the same time, the pressure to seek rapid solutions has also generated considerable momentum. How much of this momentum will be retained and go on to leave a lasting mark on vocational education and training?


Special Focus

Horacy Dęmbowski, Elsa Eiríksdóttir, Rolando López Saldaña, Fernando Marhuenda Fluixá, Stephanie Matseleng Allais, Marianne Teräs, Juraj Vantuch, Pham Viet Ha

Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on vocational education and training

Snapshots from eight countries

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Coronavirus is keeping the world in suspense. Contact restrictions, economic downturns and uncertainty regarding future developments are all creating major challenges for vocational education and training too. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected vocational education and training? Which educational policy measures or practical solutions have been initiated, and which developments will leave a lasting mark on VET? We put these questions to VET experts from eight countries, five of which are members of the European Research Review Group. Their snapshots provide insights into current developments around the world.
Stefan C. Wolter

A training crisis which has not (yet) become a reality – Swiss experiences in the COVID-19 crisis

Contrary to the expectations that might justifiably have been formed based on the experiences from previous recessions, Switzerland’s apprenticeship market has thus far remained unscathed by the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the multiplicity of measures which may be directly or indirectly responsible for this makes it impossible to judge which measure was beneficial and which not. The surprisingly good way in which the crisis has been overcome is no guarantee that another stress test in 2021 will also pass off smoothly if the high degree of insecurity felt by companies in the autumn of 2020 is taken as a yardstick for the further development of the apprenticeship market.
Tobias Maier

Does the COVID-19 crisis mark a turning point on the apprenticeship market?

A forecast of the possible development of new apprenticeship contracts up until 2030

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In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of newly concluded apprenticeship contracts in 2020 decreased by 57,600 compared to the previous year to reach the lowest level recorded since 1975. This article demonstrates that this collapse was only so severe because a surprisingly large amount of young people, particularly those in possession of a higher education entrance qualification, had commenced company-based training in the three years preceding. From a demographic perspective, the low level of training contracts was predictable. The question arising in future will be whether the transition rates of the young people stay at the low level of 2020 and what the long-term implications of this will be in regard to securing a supply of skilled workers.
Kurt Schmid, Roland Löffler

A knight in shining armour?

The Vienna training consortium model as a response to the COVID-19 crisis

Hospitality businesses have been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. One key challenge is to safeguard company-based training in this sector and to ensure its future viability. The social partners in Vienna have developed a training consortium model which enables companies providing training to continue to do so over a certain period of time without incurring costs. The pilot project presented in this article could act as a prototype for a cross-sectoral and supra-regional standard model. The article concludes by outlining areas of potential.
Alexandra Mergener, Stefan Winnige

The surge in Working from Home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

What are the long-term potentials for academically and vocationally qualified people?

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Working from Home (WfH) has become a regular model for large numbers of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. What future developments can be expected? The article investigates this question on the basis of data from the 2018 BIBB/BAuA Employment Survey and via evaluations of online job vacancies (OJV) from the year 2020. It outlines in which occupational groups long-term changes could be indicated for those with vocational and academic qualifications.
Miriam Hänni, Belinda Aeschlimann

Successful distance teaching from the perspective of staff at higher trade and technical schools in Switzerland

Between 16 March and 8 June 2020, face-to-face teaching at tertiary level was prohibited right across Switzerland as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. An immediate transition to distance learning was necessary in order to ensure the continuation of teaching at higher trade and technical schools. This also meant that teaching staff needed to undertake a rapid and flexible rethink. In the light of such a challenge, this article examines how staff experienced the switch to distance teaching and investigates which competencies were particularly important for making the change successfully.
Edgar Hahn, Dina Kuhlee, Raphaela Porsch

Successful study outcomes and drop-out tendency of trainee teachers in light of the stresses experienced during the coronavirus pandemic

The current challenges emerging as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are affecting many areas of social and economic life, and the education system is not the least of these. The impacts for schools and pupils are a particular focus of attention here. While the implications for institutes of higher education and for students may be a less prominent object of discussion, they are still a central aspect. The relocation of teaching and learning from an analogue to a digital environment can be expected to lead to greater stress levels for students. The article uses an online survey of student teachers as a basis for investigating whether the higher perceived level of stress that is assumed is also associated with changed expectations regarding successful study, in particular with an increased drop-out intention.
Michael Corsten, Sascha Oswald, Tobias Wittchen

Held back or challenged? Young adults rethinking the shape of their working future during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is being perceived as a historic break and as a source of extreme uncertainty, particularly due to the repercussions for economic momentum and the associated impact on labour market development. This is leading to a change in the way in which society views the future horizon. How is the biographical perspective being affected? Specifically, what changes are taking place in terms of how young people at the start of their working lives envision the future?
Julia Raecke, Irina Volvakov

Stresses placed on medical assistants in their training during the coronavirus pandemic

Medical assistants are a central component of the healthcare system and are highly significant key workers, especially during the current pandemic situation. The acquisition and long-term retention of trainees in this occupation is therefore an important societal objective. This article uses data from an online survey to investigate which specific stresses have arisen for this target group as a result of the exceptional circumstances and to examine the role that job satisfaction plays for trainees.

From research and practice

Stefan Hofherr

Support during training

Take-up and requirements from the point of view of trainees

Trainees are able to avail themselves of various funding and support provision. This article uses the 2019 dataset “Growing Up in Germany – Everyday Worlds” (AID:A) to investigate the extent to which trainees express a subjective need for support and to examine whether this is fulfilled or not. It also looks at the further question of via which persons trainees receive this assistance and considers whether assessments of the current training situation differ depending on take-up of support provision.
Sandra Liebscher, Janina Meyer, Britta van Erckelens

High Quality Institutes – the engine for qualitative further development of Vietnamese vocational education and training

So-called High Quality Institutes (HQI), which are state-funded, might be able to play a significant role in the further development of vocational education and training in Vietnam. They offer areas of potential by means of a closer integration of trade and industry in the structuring of training provision and through their alignment to international standards. The Vietnamese VET system as a whole could benefit if this potential could be firmly established. The article presents the aims and objectives of funding the HQIs and illustrates how they have helped to inform the further development of Vietnamese VET strategy 2030 within the scope of the consultancy services provided by the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, and BIBB.


Gert Zinke, Thomas Felkl

Craft Trades 4.0 and the new electrical engineering craft trade occupations

Craft trades which have grown historically and are steeped in tradition are by no means immune from the march of digitalisation. Substantial changes have taken place in occupational practice since the last update of the electrical engineering craft trades. In 2019, the social partners took this as an opportunity to instigate a modernisation process. This article starts by presenting the shift occurring in the occupational group on the basis of perspectives which have been discussed with the relevant experts. Against this background, the second half of the article showcases the most important changes made in the updated occupations.

Profile of an occupation – recycling and waste management technician

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The coronavirus pandemic has also impacted on occupations and sectors which do not enjoy a high degree of public perception. Recycling and waste management technicians, who maintain the waste disposal system, have been facing new and different requirements during the crisis. This article also presents the three further training occupations which make up the family of technical environmental occupations.

The Board of BIBB

Thomas Vollmer

Report on the Board Meeting held on 11 March 2021

The main focus of the first Board Meeting of 2021 was on consultations regarding digital vocational orientation, in which the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the Schools Committee of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) likewise took part. Another item on the agenda was the annual debate on the current training place situation in light of the Federal Government’s Report on Vocational Education and Training. Another point of consultation was the situation faced by refugees with regard to participation in support measures relating to career choice and training. The impacts of the pandemic were accorded particular attention during discussions on these and other topics. The meeting took place digitally and was chaired by Elke Hannack, employee representative.