Foto: Martin Rehm
Vocational training lasts between one and three and a half years, most often three years. There are two types of vocational training available in Germany:
In a dual study programme you gain practical work experience within companies. For example, if you are training to be a craftsman you learn how to use all the appropriate tools. In commercial vocational training, you learn how to use certain computer programmes or how to behave towards customers. You learn the theory behind your profession in specialised classes at a vocational school - for example, mathematics, English, business or law.
In some vocational training programmes you work three days a week at your company and attend vocational school on the remaining two days. For other types of training, you alternate between several weeks at the company and several weeks at the vocational school. As you will be working within a company, you receive a training allowance, in other words you will be paid by the company. The remuneration increases with each year of training. There are around 330 dual study occupations in Germany.
School-based training takes place primarily at a vocational school. Typical professions with school-based training include healthcare and nursing, occupational therapist, preschool educator, medical-technical assistant and foreign language correspondent. Work experience is gained mainly through internships. You do not receive remuneration for most school-based training. To finance this you can work part-time or your family can support you. Or you may apply for support from the German state, for example via the Schüler-BAföG.
Vocational training usually begins on 1 August or 1 September, sometimes on 1 February or 1 April. You should apply early. Some companies already look for suitable candidates up to one and a half years before the vocational training starts. With others you can apply a few months or weeks prior to commencement.