The Austrian apprenticeship combines practical training in a company with schoolbased training in a vocational school. The company-based training is complemented by compulsory attendance of a part-time vocational school for apprentices. This is why apprenticeship training is also referred to as “dual vocational training system” or as “dual system”
Approximately 40% of all Austrian teenagers enter apprenticeship training directly after finishing nine years of compulsory education. Upon completion of apprenticeship training, about 40 -44% of all apprentices continue to work for the company where they were trained.
By the end of 2016, all in all about 29,400 companies trained approximately 107,000 apprentices. The percentage of female apprentices is about 35 %. The most popular apprenticeship trades among girls are retail salesperson, followed by office clerk and hairdresser. Among male apprentices, the most popular occupations are metal technician, followed by electrical engineer and car mechanic. Company-based training is regulated by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, while pedagogical matters fall under the responsibility of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education.
There are approximately 200 legally recognized trades where apprenticeship training can take place. Apprenticeship training lasts two to four years, though in most cases runs for three years.
Companies which train apprentices are obliged to provide apprentices with the skills and know-how laid out in the job profile to ensure a uniform minimum standard of training. In the case that a company cannot cover the whole range of skills that is required for a particular job profile, this company can use the resources of a training network. This is very useful for small companies that would otherwise not be able to hire and train apprentices.
A key feature of the Austrian apprenticeship system is certainly the weight of the company- based training. It takes up the majority of the time within the training as such.
The apprentice is employed by the company on the basis of an apprenticeship training agreement.
Thus, an apprentice has got full social insurance including health, accident, retirement and unemployment insurance.
Furthermore, the apprentice is entitled to a remuneration, which is fixed in collective labour agreements and varies according to the different apprenticeship trades.
This way, they are fully integrated into a working environment which also helps them to develop their social skills and personality.
One of the major advantages of this system, both for the apprentice as well as the company, is that apprentices may be employed as fully qualified skilled workers right upon completion of their apprenticeship training.
The Austrian apprenticeship system aims at providing a highly qualified job training that at the same time takes into account the requirements of the industry and trade
PART-TIME VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS FOR APPRENTICES
Attendance of a part-time vocational school for apprentices is compulsory for apprentices who have signed an apprenticeship training agreement with a company.
Attendance of a part-time vocational school for apprentices starts with the beginning of the apprenticeship training agreement and lasts until its end.
The aim of part-time vocational schools for apprentices is to provide apprentices with the theoretical basis of the respective occupation, to promote and complement company-based training and to deepen their general knowledge.
Education in part-time vocational schools for apprentices may take on various organizational forms, either on a daily, weekly or seasonal basis, depending on the requirements of a certain trade.
THE APPRENTICESHIP-LEAVE EXAM
The contract between the employer and the apprentice ends automatically after the stipulated period of time. At the end of apprenticeship training, each apprentice may decide whether or not to take the apprenticeship-leave exam. This exam tests the practical skills and qualifications relevant to his/her occupation and whether he/she is able to properly perform the tasks characteristic to the apprenticeship trade and required by the curricula.
The apprenticeship-leave exam is divided into a practical and a theoretical part and consists of a written and an oral exam.
The apprenticeship-leave certificate provides the apprentice with access to two different vocational careers. On the one hand, it is a prerequisite for the admission to the Master Craftsman Exam and for qualification tests. On the other hand, it gives access to higher education, if the apprentice takes additional courses and exams. Role of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia
The Austrian Chambers of Commerce in the 9 regional provinces play an important part in this system of dual vocational training. They are involved in setting up the apprenticeship employment contracts as well as in the evaluation of the companies in terms of the standards required for training young people. In addition, they are responsible for the organisation of the apprenticeship-leave exams.
As a result of the long-standing and excellent relations between the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and in light of the rapidly increasing need in Serbia for qualified labour, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Serbian Ministry of Education, the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) initiated 2015 a pilot project to introduce elements of dual educational training in Serbia.
Within this framework of cooperation, the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria has been available to provide expert advice on the legal requirements for a functioning apprenticeship system as well as on the drawing up of job profiles. Also “ train the trainer” seminars were offered to those companies that were involved in the pilot project.
We firmly believe that a dual education system, which combines theoretical and practical teaching, will not only open exciting new job opportunities for the young , but also prepare them for the challenges of a future working environment that requires more flexibility, social skills and the willingness to continuously learn
After the success of the pilot project a long term project involving more job profiles for dual educational training was launched this year. It also includes capacity building for the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry regarding the administration of the apprenticeship training and eventually assistance to the companies that are willing to be included in this kind of apprenticeship training.
During the implementation of the various stages of dual vocational training in Serbia, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA in Belgrade acts as an intermediary between companies, schools, ministries and authorities.
Moreover, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA helps to promote the idea of dual educational training in Serbia within the scope of their activities. ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA continues to contribute expert knowledge to create new profiles of dual vocational training to meet the needs of companies for a skilled labour force.
The Austrian apprenticeship system aims at providing a highly qualified job training that at the same time takes into account the requirements of the industry and trade. It is the joint objective of all institutions involved in apprenticeship training to maintain it as an attractive carrier path for the youth and develop it continuously.
In Serbia, we combine our efforts with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Serbian Ministry of Education to establish a dual vocational system that serves the needs of Serbian businesses as well as the young people. We firmly believe that a dual education system, which combines theoretical and practical teaching, will not only open exciting new job opportunities for the young but also prepare them for the challenges of a future working environment that requires more flexibility, social skills and the willingness to continuously learn.
Further information Short Movie “Apprenticeship Training in Austria”: http://www.advantageaustria.org/international/educational-system