Europe: TVET trainees unable to find jobs

Countries with a dual system show better results

Nov 3rd, 2015

A recently published study reveals that in many European countries, young people are left without career prospects. Statistics show that in early 2014, a total of 5.5 million young people in the European Union were jobless, a 22% unemployment rate among this age group.

In many of the cases the solution would be easy: provide more suitable technical and vocational education and training that caters for the needs of the job market.

The study was undertaken by the ‘Cologne Institute for Economic Research’ (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln – IW) and compared TVET systems in 7 European countries: Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Great Britain.

As a general result, countries with dual systems – meaning parallel training and learning in a TVET college and a company – show better results. Trainees of the dual system seem much better prepared for the job market and consequently find employment more easily. Positive examples are the systems in Germany and Switzerland.

However, the study shows that it can be very challenging to transfer the dual system to other countries where this concept is not known.

Overall, the following factors contribute to a successful technical and vocational education and training system:

  • Companies themselves are engaged in the training.
  • The society perceives technical training as valuable.
  • Further training (articulation) is possible for TVET graduates, for example university studies.
  • Flexibility to adapt the training to changing job market needs, for example through dual or modular training.
  • Labour unions and other social partners participate in creating and updating occupational profiles.
  • Career advice for young people informing them about career paths, options and advantages.
  • International exchange programmes cater for the needs of technical students.
  • Regional mobility within countries, matching to-be-apprentices with available TVET training options.

The study is available in German language only on:  


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