KfW SME Panel: Number of trainees at SMEs has remained relatively stable at 1.2 million

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, 30-Aug-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Nine out of ten apprentices train in mid-sized companies

  • SMEs are bucking the trend and keeping their trainee numbers constant at around 1.2 million
  • Manual trades are particularly popular
  • Refugees are reason behind first increase in job training participants in ten years

Trainee numbers in Germany continue to decline and currently stand at 1.34 million. A record low was seen in 2015 with a mere 516,000 new trainee contracts concluded. The reasons for this are a decline in the number of pupils due to progressively changing demographics and an increased interest in studying among today’s youth. For small and mid-sized companies, however, ensuring a new generation of skilled employees through vocational training is a matter of survival. A special analysis of the representative KfW SME Panel revealed that for the moment they are still managing to counter this trend: the number of trainees at SMEs has remained relatively stable at 1.2 million over the last five years. Consequently, nine out of ten apprentices in Germany get their vocational training at a mid-sized company.

“Increasingly it is SMEs that are offering apprenticeships”, says Dr Jörg Zeuner, Chief Economist at KfW Group. “A good two-thirds of employees in the country and almost 90% of trainees today work at SMEs. However, we expect to see a slight decline in the number of trainees at mid-sized companies in the 2016 training year that has just started”.

Overall, 13% of SMEs in Germany have trainee programmes. The general rule is: the smaller the business, the fewer trainees it takes on. This is why companies in the manufacturing sector, in which larger SMEs are more prevalent than in other industries, quite often have training programmes (28%). Manual training is the only area to break through the size barrier; the numerous small skilled trade companies in Germany offer a much larger percentage of apprenticeships than average. Consequently, the share of skilled trade companies with trainee programmes is at 24% almost twice as high as that of the other mid-sized companies.

The large number of immigrants draws attention to the so-called “transition area”, which is meant to improve the opportunities for young people without an apprenticeship through job preparation measures or catch up by obtaining school-leaving certificates. For the first time in ten years, the official statistics in 2015 showed a rise in new entries in the transition area to 271,000 – a 7% increase over 2014. Finally, many young refugees need intensive job preparation in combination with language and integration lessons.

“The integration of refugees is currently one of the greatest challenges facing our job training system in Germany”, says KfW Chief Economist Zeuner. “Rarely has there been a better time to reinforce the transition area as a vital bridge between school and training”.

Read more about the latest special analysis from the KfW SME Panel at: www.kfw.de/research (only in german language)..

Ms.Christine Volk
Phone +49 69 74 31 38 67
Fax +49 69 74 31 32 66
eMail christine.volk@kfw.de



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