BWP 4/2018

International mobility

BWP 4/2018

International mobility of learners is in increasing demand in the wake of global networking. What are the associated expectations? What benefits can be derived from a period spent abroad from the point of view of individuals, companies and educational establishments, and which hurdles can sometimes impede practical implementation? This issue of BWP addresses these issues, presents relevant findings from research and academic studies and portrays a range of different practical concepts and experiences relating to the promotion and implementation of international mobility.


Vocational education and training in figures

Ulrike Schröder

Going abroad with Erasmus+ – which occupations are the most mobile?

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Every year, thousands of young people take advantage of the opportunity to spend part of their vocational education and training abroad. But which occupations are well represented and which less so? Data is now available for two cohorts of the Erasmus+ EU programme. The following analysis concentrates on the area of dual training for the 2015 funding cohort. The training occupations with the highest mobility rates in Erasmus+ form the starting point.

Special Focus

“I am optimistic that Europe will benefit from the Erasmus generation”

Interview with Petra Kammerevert, Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education

The European mobility programme Erasmus has delivered success in the form of more than nine million participants in three decades. Since 2014, the promotion of mobility has been pooled across all educational areas in the Erasmus+ programme. However, vocational education and training learners have not yet been able to tap into the successes achieved in the higher education sector. Why is this? What sort of persuasion needs to take place, and how must general conditions be improved so that more trainees are able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a period of training spent abroad? These are also questions which are a matter of concern to the Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education.
Klaus Fahle

The changing nature of international mobility in vocational education and training

Objectives, strategies and narratives

The international mobility of learners in VET remains a popular object of policy debate. In Germany, the focus is on the unqualified support for the expansion of mobility in VET that comes from policy makers, the social partners and the trade and industry associations alike. Over recent decades, mobility in vocational education and training has become one of the major action areas in European educational policy. This article explains this development, presents the altered funding strategies and their effects, and describes how these have become embedded in political discourse. It also indicates a new narrative that has emerged in the wake of the European integration crisis. Namely, mobility fosters personal competencies and European citizenship.
Berthold Hübers, Jan Kröll

Stays abroad in vocational education and training

Scope, benefits and support requirements

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International requirements in the world of work are increasing in the wake of globalisation. Periods of time spent abroad are considered to offer a high degree of potential in terms of imparting the necessary competencies in this regard. In light of this, the German Bundestag has set out the objective that, by 2020, at least ten percent of all persons completing dual VET should have spent part of such training abroad. What is the current state of affairs, who finances mobility, and how is the benefit of such periods spent abroad evaluated? And what are the reasons stated by trainees, companies and schools not taking part in foreign stays? These questions are investigated on the basis of a representative survey, and conclusions are also drawn with regard to the endeavours being undertaken to increase the number and extent of stays abroad.
Andreas Diettrich, Franka Marie Becker

Cross-border skilled worker training in the Southern Baltic

Curriculum development and recognition issues

Five partner countries have joined forces in the research and development project “BBVET – Boosting business integration through joint VET” to develop and pilot a training year comprising two programmes which are linked in structural, curricular and didactic terms and which take place in accordance with the prevailing general conditions of various European VET systems. The article presents the respective approaches adopted and looks at issues relating to comparability of training levels and periods as well as considering the challenges to cross-border skilled worker training created by the involvement of the stakeholders responsible.
Susanne Timmermann

“Training Worldwide” – learning beyond the borders of Europe

The Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) [Federal Ministry of Education and Research] is using a pilot project entitled “AusbildungWeltweit” (“Training Worldwide”) to fund foreign vocational education and training stays beyond Europe. This article explains the objectives associated with this initiative, the main target group at which the support programme is aimed and the experiences which have been gained thus far.
Tamara Moll

“Vocational education and training without borders”

How the adventure of a practical placement abroad makes VET more attractive

More and more German firms are engaging in activity abroad and cooperating with international companies. Foreign practical placements as part of VET, which are most effective when they take place during training itself, are a particularly suitable way of training skilled workers for this purpose and of imparting intercultural competencies. “Vocational education and training without borders” is a guidance network which particularly seeks to support small and medium-sized companies with the organisation and implementation of such practical placements.

“Skilled workers with foreign experience are the skilled workers of the future”

Interview with Michael Schuster, Managing Director of Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH

If 90 per cent of all a company’s trainees spend part of their training abroad, this can virtually be said to constitute standard practice. This is precisely the situation that prevails at Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH, a company based in the Allgäu region in Southern Germany. Trainees spend between three and eight weeks gathering experience at a firm abroad. The Managing Director of Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH has given an interview to BWP to explain the associated expectations of this approach and to report on the benefits that are derived for the trainees and for the company as a whole.
Hartmut Müller, Folene Nannen-Gethmann

Supporting mobility at vocational schools in North-Rhine Westphalia

Incentives created by the “International Occupational Mobility” certificate

Mobility is understood and implemented as an important school development factor in order to encourage VET with a greater international alignment. Within this context, the State of North-Rhine Westphalia introduced a certificate entitled “International Occupational Mobility” in 2016. This article presents the intention behind this scheme and its significance for vocational schools and their pupils.
Eva-Marie Höffer, Anne-Maria Teesalu

Ensuring the right insurance cover is in place for foreign stays

Statutory accident insurance for periods spent abroad by trainees

A number of issues arise when preparing for a foreign stay as part of VET. These include insurance cover for accidents at work. It is important to clarify whether German statutory accident insurance provisions apply before embarking upon a placement in another country. This article describes the various legal foundations and options for periods of time spent abroad.
Mika Saarinen

Internationalisation of vocational education and training in Finland

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VET is rather attractive in Finland, with 45 per cent of the age group choosing this form of secondary education. Equally, international mobility of students, apprentices and staff in VET is very popular and has over the past ten years increased with ca. 50 per cent. This article gives an overview of the internationalisation of VET in Finland. It analyses some of the strategic steps that led to this development, and outlines some challenges and opportunities.

Other Themes

Felix Wenzelmann, Normann Müller

Continuing vocational training from the point of view of the individual

A summary of costs and benefits

Individual returns from continuing VET are frequently identified on the basis of wage development or impacts on employability. Individual expenditure incurred is not usually taken into account in this regard. By way of contrast, this article focuses on the costs-benefits ratio. Participants are asked whether they would once again opt for the same education and training activity. Although the results, which are based on individual data that has just become available, reveal a generally positive assessment, they also indicate exceptions. Company-specific continuing training programmes in particular are evaluated in a less favourable light.
Ana Santiago Vela

Utilisation of professional and vocational qualifications within the context of mobility to Germany

Results of the 2018 BIBB/BAuA Labour Force Survey

International mobility of employees is playing an increasingly important role within the context of global networking. Such mobility is, however, restricted by dint of the fact that qualifications obtained within an educational and training history mostly have a country-specific context. This means that they frequently cannot be utilised to their fullest extent abroad. The result of this is that employees who have qualified abroad sometimes exercise tasks which are not in accordance with their training. Which factors favour or inhibit such an over-qualified employment in particular? The article investigates this issue using data from the latest 2018 Labour Force Survey conducted by BIBB and the Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA) [Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health].


Gunther Spillner, Hannelore Mottweiler

Advanced training at the highest level – certified business economist

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The qualification of certified business economist pursuant to the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) is one of the flagship certifications in the area of advanced commercial training. It is one of only a very small number of vocational qualifications which are aligned to level 7 of the German Qualifications Framework (DQR) and thus enjoy equivalence with university-based master’s degrees. The qualification has been updated with the aim of addressing the current needs of companies and of those completing the certification and thus also with a view to enhancing the attractiveness of this advanced training option. This article highlights the objectives of the revision, the content adjustments which have been made and the particular characteristics associated with alignment to DQR level 7.
Martin Elsner

Vocational education and training in the public sector – actively shaping change

VET in the public sector also needs to face up to the challenges posed by demographics, digitalisation and Europeanisation. A BIBB development project has undertaken an initial inventory in this regard and drawn up recommendations for the continuation of the approaches adopted in this VET sector. The article presents the most important ideas which have emerged in respect of the updating of occupational profiles, upgrading training and research.

The Board of BIBB

Thomas Vollmer

Report on the Board Meeting 2/2018 held in Berlin on 6 June 2018

The main focus of the meeting was on debating the VET tasks and objectives of the Federal Government for the current legislative period. Further issues for consultation were permeability between academic and vocational training, the strategic realignment of BIBB research via the introduction of topic clusters, work integration of refugees and the sustainable structuring of the German Qualifications Framework. A revision of the “Recommendation regarding the acquisition of occupation-related competencies” was also formally adopted. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Chairman Udo Philippus, Representative of the Federal States.
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