GERMANS HAVE SKILL STANDARDS AND TEST FOR MANY APPRENTICESHIP
INDUSTRIES BUT YOU CAN HIRE WHO YOU WANT
Roland Wolf Germany
Hey thanks, that's a big help. I'm just going through the British NVQ
system. In the US some industries have developed credentials, and of
course Microsoft is peddling "microsoft certification" which means
you studied for and passed a test, and hopefully it means you can
program or admininster an NT system or such. But there is nothing
comprehensive across the entire labor force as is envsioned by the
From: "Roland & Christine Wolf"
Subject: Re: National Skill Standards
Date sent: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 09:53:21 +0100
> > Hello again, I've got another question. Over here, they're trying to
> > nationalize federal standards for "skill standards". You won't be
> > able to get a skilled job unless you meet federal standards for job
> > qualifications. Currently,every employer lists their jobs
> > requirements, and decides if the employee meets their
> > qualifications without any federal standards, they simply trust what
> > the applicant puts on his resume. But there is no standard for
> > software engineer, tester, tech support operator, or whatever except
> > in a few licenced trades such as hair dresser, or restaurant worker.
> > The following paper says that this movement is based on looking at
> > the German dual education system. To what extent does Germany
> > have comprehensive skills standards, and you have to pass a test
> > to get a job in any industry?
At present, and in the forseeable future, the German system
works like this:
The Berufsschulen, which are completly seperate from the standard
schools, work our standards for their training with the chambers
of comerce, which represent the employees. They also work out a
division of the training, i.e. what skills are thought by the
and what is thought by the employer. During the 2-3.5 years every
trainee spends in his training, they try to teach him. The Berufsschulen
take interim tests to see whether the students are learning to standard,
while the degree of practical training shows up in the quality of work
the trainee does.
At the end of the training ("Lehre") there is a two part exam:
The theoretical part is done at the Berufsschule, where you are given a
multiple choice test from the chamber of commerce. You have to reach
50 % to pass.
A couple of weeks later the trainee is invited to a company similar to
his own where he has to show his pratical skills to an employer in the
same field of buisiness as his own.
If you pass both tests you are given an paper, like the "Kaufmannsgehilfen-
brief" (Certificate of proficiency as a salesperson/clerk) stating that
you sucessfully completed your training. This certificate is enclosed to
your resumees and companies usually offer jobs to the sets of
set by this system ("We are searching for a Kaufmann im Gross- u. Aussen-
handel" We are looking for a clerk specialised in wholesale, Im/Export)
There was talk of replacing the certificates with a smart card, but nothing
came of it. There wasn`t anything about putting the resume on the same
For the employers this is a convenient way to hire people, since they know
that applicants have certain skills. But of course every employer is free
hire anybody he wants to, regardless of his/her training. This is done
in jobs so new that there are no training courses for them yet.
If you want to train trainees as an employer you have to get an additional
qualification. To obtain it you have to take a course in the evening
6 weeks, mostly about trainees rights, training methods and the like.
In many blue collar jobs, like construction or car repair, you have to take
a masters degree (Meisterbrief) in order to operate such a buisiness. If
owner doesn`t have such a degree, he/she is required to hire a "Meister".
To qualify for "Meister" you have to have taken the formal training in your
job (Lehre), worked for a couple of years and then visit a special school.
"Meisterschule". This is a holdover of medivial times and is there to
the quality of work and training. It is a stronly discussed item these
and may fall in the next years.
To get a standard job, you don`t have to have taken the training, your
employer may hire you as he/she pleases. There are exceptions of course,
like nurses, paramedics and the like. Given the tight job market we
have at the moment an employer will nearly always hire a trained
There are a lot of jobs falling out of this scheme, from both ends of
the spectrum. Some jobs require no training at all since they are so
simple (like cleaning) or since a academical degree is required for them
Hope that helps,