Our expert vocabulary

This section aims to describe and define many terms from the field of dual vocational education and training (VET). Each term includes a note on where it is commonly used – whether in Germany (DE), Liechtenstein (LI), Austria (AT) or Switzerland (CH) or in several of these countries. Where corresponding terms exist in the other countries, a reference is made in the description.

The terms were selected based on their importance for understanding the basic structures of dual VET and its respective national designs, but also its major special forms.

Where texts include terms that are themselves part of this terminology list, they are marked with an arrow →.

Unless explicitly specified otherwise, the definitions are explanations developed by ibw’s team of authors. All the terms which have already been used in the publication “Success Factors for the Dual VET. Possibilities for Know-how-Transfer” and have been taken from there are marked with an asterisk *.

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(German term)
Final examination
In Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland this term is used for the → apprenticeship-leave examination. The final examination aims to determine if the examinee has acquired the professional competences. It is taken before an examination committee / board of examiners, which comprises at least three professionally qualified members.
Vocational qualification for adults
(Berufsabschluss für Erwachsene)
A form of the qualification procedure for adults without an → apprenticeship contract: the final examination can be taken by candidates after at least five years of professional activity (partly in the desired occupational field) without attending any prior apprenticeship contract.
DE → external examination
AT → exceptional apprenticeship-leave examination
(IVET) Trainer
The trainer bears responsibility for ensuring training is conducted properly in place of the → authorised apprenticeship trainers. They lay down the objectives and the time structure of the training, instruct the trainees / apprentices in specialist issues, supervise the training and keep contact with the trainees’ parents and with the → part-time vocational school.
The number of trainers who are employed by a company mainly depends on the number of apprentices. The Austrian → Vocational Training Act for example, specifies that for every five apprentices, the company needs to employ one trainer who does not only have training-related tasks. For every 15 apprentices, the company needs to employ at least one trainer who has only training tasks.
Previously also used in CH, LI → apprenticeship trainer
Aptitude examination for trainers (according  to AEVO)
(Ausbildereignungsprüfung (nach AEVO))
This examination serves to determine the trainers’ vocational and occupational aptitude in pedagogical terms. Candidates who have successfully completed the examination are awarded the trainer certificate; however, they will only get the authorisation to train apprentices after completing the examination as well as relevant professional training (an apprenticeship, a study course) and on the condition that the company providing the training is registered at the chamber.
Training of trainers
Special training programme for → (IVET) trainers which replaces the (IVET) trainer examination in Austria.
CH, LI → course for apprenticeship trainers

(IVET) trainer examination

The (IVET) trainer examination entitles the trainer to train apprentices at the company. In Austria, the (IVET) trainer examination is held by the offices responsible for the master craftsperson examination in the economic chambers. Various other programmes and exams replace the (IVET) trainer examination or are considered equivalent: these include the entrepreneurial examination, a certificate from part-time industrial master college or completion of a training programme for trainers, concluded with an expert interview. The (IVET) trainer examination covers educational, psychological and legal contents. A prerequisite for admission to the exam is full legal age.
CH: Course confirmation upon completion of the → course for apprenticeship trainers
DE → aptitude examination for trainers
Training regulation (AO)
(Ausbildungsordnung (AO)*)
In Austria, the AO specifies the specific job description of an apprenticeship occupation with the minimum basic vocational knowledge, knowledge and skills which must be imparted during the apprenticeship period. It can be compared with a school-based curriculum. In addition, the AO contains an activity description, which briefly outlines the occupational requirements for fully trained skilled workers. The AOs are issued by the Ministry of Economy.
In Germany the AO contains the title of the training occupation, the training duration, the knowledge, skills and competences which are the minimum objectives of the vocational programme (training profile), the syllabus and timetable to be followed when imparting the training, as well as the examination requirements. The AOs are issued by the competent ministry (in most cases the Ministry of Economic Affairs) in consultation with the Ministry of Education.
CH → initial VET ordinance 
Training alliance
Training/host companies commit themselves to train apprentices in all knowledge and skills specified in the job description. But due to their high specialisation level, some companies cannot impart all the items listed in the job description, whereas others shy away from the (administrative) work involved or the responsibility they would have to bear over the entire apprenticeship period lasting for several years. In such cases there is the option to impart these contents as part of a training alliance at other training establishments (such as in another company).
In Germany, four different forms of such collaborative training exist. One thing all these variants have in common is that not all contents of a training programme can be imparted at the actual training company: 

  • training at a main company with a partner company,
  • mandated training,
  • training with a vocational training association,
  • training consortium. 

The training scheme comprising a main company and a partner company is found very frequently in practice. Also mandated training is a common model. This is usually between large enterprises on the one hand and small and micro enterprises on the other.
In Switzerland, two basic types of training alliances are found, the → training/host company network and the collaborative training alliance. In the training/host company network, two or more companies form a network and train complementary parts of the training. The training/host company is responsible for the training whereas the partner companies cover fields of study which cannot be imparted by the training/host company or can be taught better by the partner company. In most cases, the host company itself provides training but in addition it also fulfils staff-related, organisational, planning and managerial functions. The collaborative training alliance includes a managing organisation. This organisation is usually organised externally and performs key organisational and administrative tasks. Training is held in the different participating companies of the alliance. A managing organisation of a large alliance is generally not involved in the training of learners.

Training allowance
The remuneration which trainees are paid by the companies.
AT → apprenticeship remuneration
CH, LI: learner’s pay or learner’s salary
Exceptional apprenticeship-leave examination
(Außerordentliche Lehrabschlussprüfung*)
Exceptional admission to the apprenticeship-leave examination can be allowed to persons who have neither completed any apprenticeship training nor any school-based programme that is considered equivalent to the apprenticeship occupation. These are:

  • candidates from the age of 18 who can furnish proof that they have acquired the required skills and knowledge for the respective apprenticeship occupation in another way (such as with corresponding periods of on-the-job training, practical activities, or course events).
  • candidates who have completed at least half of the apprenticeship period of an apprenticeship occupation and have no possibility of concluding an apprenticeship contract for the remaining period of time.

DE → External examination
CH → Vocational qualification for adults

Basic training year
Under this scheme, trainees in Switzerland are trained in a full-time school or an external training centre in the first year of the VET programme (sometimes also in the first two years) before being integrated into in-company processes. In some cases, learners undergo practical training in the form of a traineeship at their host company.
Retention period
The training company is obliged to employ an apprentice for three months at the company in his/her learned profession after his/her apprenticeship period expires as stipulated in the apprenticeship contract or due to completion of the apprenticeship-leave examination. (Source: BAG § 18)
colleges of advanced vocational studies
The learners conclude a three-year apprenticeship contract with a company in which half of the training takes place. The other half is provided at college of advanced vocational studies, with theoretical and practical stages alternating roughly every three months.
Vocational Training Act
(Berufsausbildungs­gesetz (BAG)*, Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG)
In Austria, the BAG regulates company-based apprenticeship training in Austria. It specifies who is entitled to train apprentices, which qualifications (IVET) trainers need to furnish, which obligations apprentices, (IVET) trainers and parents have, how apprenticeship contracts need to be formulated, the duration of the apprenticeship period, how the training regulations need to be formulated, etc.
In Germany, the BBiG regulates the provision of all VET programmes in Germany (IVET, CVET, retraining, VET for special groups) including their organisation and research on VET. It also forms the legal basis of the → Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB).
CH, LI → Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA)
Training in extra-company establishments
(Berufsausbildung in außerbetrieblichen Einrichtungen (=außerbetriebliche Berufsausbildung, BaE))
As part of the career guidance services provided by the Federal Employment Agency in Germany, young people who cannot find a training place are placed in BaE schemes. A training course is termed “company external” if it is (almost) completely funded by state programmes or programmes of public employment services without a training contract being concluded with a company. Company external establishments include colleges, education centres, trade and technical schools, church-run establishments and institutions for occupational rehabilitation.
AT → supra-company training (ÜBA)
CH → branch courses in VET centres (üK)
Job description
In general, this term denotes how a group (or the general public) jointly see a professional activity. Frequently three key aspects are taken into consideration here:
1) the legal norms and standards applicable to the occupation,
2) the activities and tasks which are typical for the occupation as well as the scope of competences and qualifications,
3) the required formal and informal qualifications.
In the apprenticeship training, the job description is a catalogue of the basic vocational knowledge, knowledge and skills – broken down by apprenticeship years – that need to be imparted as a minimum prerequisite in company-based training. The job description forms part of the → training regulation (AO).
VET/apprenticeship trainers in companies or → branch courses (also referred to as apprenticeship trainers in dual-track VET programmes or traineeship supervisors in school-based VET programmes) provide apprentices with training or ensure that apprentices receive such training during their → initial vocational education and training (I-VET). They refer to the training plan that accompanies each → initial VET ordinance. Apprenticeship trainers are part of the group of → VET professionals.
Source: Glossary of Vocational and Professional Education and Training, http://www.lex.berufsbildung.ch/dyn/20850.aspx
AT, DE → (IVET) trainer
Training course / Training programme for VET/apprenticeship trainers
(Berufsbildner/innen-kurs resp. Berufsbildner/innen-bildung)
This training course (40 hours) / training programme (100 hours) serves to determine the trainers’ educational, methodological and teaching skills. The contents of the basic training are specified in a curriculum adopted at national level by the Conference of Swiss VET/PET Offices (SBBK). Cantons develop their training programmes based on this curriculum, with some scope in terms of form, design and methods. This course was previously called course for Lehrmeister/innen. The training programme for VET trainers (100 hours) leads to a nationally recognised diploma, the training course (40 hours) to a cantonal, nationally recognised certificate.
AT, DE → training of trainers
Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA)
(Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBG))
The Swiss VPETA regulates the provision of all vocational and professional education and training programmes provided outside the higher education. It covers → upper secondary VET (i.e. apprenticeship training), à Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB), higher professional education and training (professional college degree programmes, federal PET Diploma and advanced federal PET diploma), job-related continuing education and training, as well as qualification procedures (i.e. examinations), certificates and degrees.
AT → Vocational Training Act (BAG)
DE → Vocational Training Act (BBiG)
Initial vocational education and training (I-VET)
(Berufliche Grundbildung)
Swiss term for apprenticeship training. There are two-year VET programmes (completed with the Federal VET Certificate) and three- or four-year VET programmes (completed with the Federal VET Diploma). The training can be company-based or school-based. In the first case, which applies to some 90% of all training relationships, the term → company-based VET is also used.
AT, DE: apprenticeship training
VET based on § 8b of the Vocational Training Act
(Berufsausbildung gemäß § 8b BAG)
The scheme VET based on § 8b of the à Vocational Training Act (previously referred to as inclusive VET) is a training scheme enabling people who are disadvantaged on the labour market to acquire a vocational (partial) qualification. By attending inclusive VET programmes, specific groups (such as people without a final certificate from lower secondary school, with a negative final certificate from such a school, or people with disabilities within the meaning of the Act on the employment of people with disabilities can acquire an apprenticeship diploma in an apprenticeship period that is prolonged by one year (in exceptional cases by two years) or they can obtain partial qualifications useful in the business sphere in one or several apprenticeship occupations.
Training contract
In Germany, the term training contract refers to the written agreement concluded between a trainee and his/her training company. The → Vocational Training Act lays down the minimum contents which must be included in the training contract. These include, in particular, the names and addresses of the contract partners, the objective, the syllabus and timetable, the beginning and duration of the training, the training location, the working hours, the amount of the → training allowance, etc.
AT, CH, LI → apprenticeship contract
Vocational training committee
In Germany, this is a committee comprising representatives of employers, employees and vocational school teachers. It is the task of the body competent in the respective case (chambers, branches of public service, etc.) to establish such a committee, which then acts as this body’s main advisory and decision-making authority. The committee has to be involved in all key matters concerning VET (e.g. issues related to VET preparation, IVET, CVET and retraining).
AT → Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeship
CH → Federal Commission for Vocational and Professional Education and Training
VET professionals
The VPETA draws a distinction between three groups of VET professionals: → 1. VET/apprenticeship trainers at host companies,
2. Teachers at → VET schools and
3. other VET professionals.
The training and qualifications required from VET professionals are regulated by the legal bases (i.e. the → VPETA, ordinances on vocational and professional education and training and the core syllabuses).
VET school
VET schools provide classroom instruction in accordance with the established → initial VET ordinance and training plan. Besides, they have their own specific training mission. Vocational instruction provides learners with the theoretical knowledge they require to carry out their chosen occupation. General education encourages the learners’ personal development and imparts social competences. Numerous VET schools also offer a preparatory course for the → Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB).
Source: Glossary of Vocational and Professional Education and Training, http://www.lex.berufsbildung.ch/dyn/20850.aspx
AT, DE à part-time vocational school
Apprenticeship with the matriculation certificate
Apprenticeship with the matriculation certificate is a special form of the higher education entrance examination. The related preparatory courses and three out of four partial exams can be completed during the apprenticeship period. For this it is possible to prolong the apprenticeship period. The Apprenticeship with the matriculation certificate provides holders with unrestricted access to studies at universities, universities of applied sciences, university colleges of teacher education and post-secondary VET courses. It is also known as apprenticeship with matura.
CH → Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB)
Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB)
The Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (FVB) is an optional general education qualification that learners may prepare for alongside their normal vocational instruction and apprenticeship training for the federal VET Diploma. FVB holders may enrol in a related degree programme at a Swiss university of applied sciences without having to take an entrance examination.
Source: Glossary of Vocational and Professional Education and Training, http://www.lex.berufsbildung.ch/dyn/20850.aspx
AT → apprenticeship with the matriculation certificate
Job profile
Job profil is a term used in the apprenticeship training and denotes a short list of occupational requirements made on a fully trained apprentice. As a rule, this activity description forms part of the → training regulation (AO).
Part-time vocational school
Alongside the training company, part-time vocational school is the second place of learning in the apprenticeship training. Part-time vocational school imparts the theoretical background required for exercising the respective occupation and aims to expand the learners’ general education. Part-time vocational school also imparts additional occupation-specific practical knowledge.
CH, LI → VET school
company‑based VET
This term refers to company-based → initial vocational education and training (I-VET)
VET accreditation
In order to be able to provide apprenticeship training, companies in Switzerland must obtain VET accreditation from the cantonal authority in charge of VET.
In Austria, this is equivalent to the declaration on accreditation (→ assessment procedure).
DE: examination of the suitability of vocational training facilities
Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeship
The federal advisory board on apprenticeship is a body which comprises social partner representatives and is set up by the Ministry of Economy. It advises the Ministry in issues related to apprenticeship training and submits expert opinions and concepts in case of legal amendments and new regulations. (BMWFW 2014, p. 21)
DE → vocational training committee
CH → Federal Commission for Vocational and Professional Education and Training
Federal Institute for VET
(Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB))
The BIBB has the task of contributing to VET research in Germany by conducting academic research projects. Research is carried out in the form of an annual research programme, which requires the approval of the Ministry of Education.
CH → Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET)
Double apprenticeship training
In the Austrian VET system, learners can learn two occupations at the same time. This is termed double apprenticeship training. A prerequisite is that the training company is equipped in a way that it can provide training in both occupations. In addition, the two occupations should not be fully related.
A double apprenticeship lasts for a maximum of 4 years. The attendance of → part-time vocational school is regulated differently for double apprenticeships. In principle, however, attendance of part-time vocational school in one of the two occupations is compulsory in each apprenticeship year.
Federal Commission for vocational and professional education and training
(Eidgenössische Berufsbildungskommission (EBBK))
The EBBK advises the → State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) on matters concerning the development and coordination of VPET. It assesses projects related to the development of VPET and applications for contributions for special achievements in the public interest. The commission, which is elected by the federal council, comprises representatives of the confederation, cantons and professional organisations.
AT → Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeship
DE → vocational training committee
(Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET)
(Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Berufsbildung (EHB))
The SFIVET is the Swiss expert organisation for the provision of basic and continuing training to VPET professionals, the development of occupations and the pursuit of research in the VPET field.
In Germany, at least some parts of these tasks are fulfilled by the → Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB).
In Austria, these tasks are spread over different establishments.
Complementary training measure
(Ergänzende Ausbildungs-maßnahme)
Where a training company cannot fully impart the skills and knowledge laid down in the training regulations, the training shall nevertheless be admissible if a complementary training measure can be conducted in another suitable company or in another suitable establishment as part of an → training alliance. The syllabus and timetable of complementary training (related to the apprenticeship year) shall be laid down in the declaration on accreditation (→ assessment procedure) and shall also be agreed upon with the apprentice in the → apprenticeship contract. (cf. BAG section 2a)
DE → inter-company vocational training centres
CH → branch courses
External examination
In Germany, under certain conditions, it is possible to admit individuals to the final examination if they have not completed any VET programme but can prove sufficient professional practice. They will then take part as “externals” in the examination for a state-recognised training occupation. The respective competent body will decide on admission.
AT → exceptional apprenticeship-leave examination
CH → Vocational qualification for adults
Trade and technical schools
Continuing vocational training establishments. The programmes in the various faculties at these schools follow on from initial vocational training and professional experience. They can be attended in different forms of organisation (full-time or part-time) and lead to a post-secondary vocational qualification that is recognised by the state.
Please note: In Austria, the term Fachschulen refers to the 3- to 4-year schools for intermediate vocational education at upper secondary level.
Assessment procedure
Procedure to assess whether a company meets the prerequisites for training apprentices in a specific occupation. This procedure is conducted by the locally competent apprenticeship office in cooperation with the Chamber of Labour upon an application submitted by the (training) company. A company that meets all requirements will receive a declaration on accreditation attesting that the company is entitled to employ and train apprentices.
DE: examination of the suitability of vocational training facilities
CH → VET accreditation
Professional education and training (PET)
(Höhere Berufsbildung)
In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, professional education and training (PET) comprises all vocational programmes at tertiary level, ISCED 5B (incl. federal PET diplomas, advanced federal PET diplomas and professional college degree programmes).
In‑house training workshop
(Interne Ausbildungsstätten)
The Swiss in-house training workshops are training facilities which are part of the host company but are located in their own separate rooms and have their own forms of organisation which distinguish them from “typical”, i.e. non-training related production or service areas. However, these training facilities are nevertheless part of the host company and are funded by it. Frequently learners from other companies are trained there as well, in which case the training facility functions as an external training centre. Some companies nowadays have delegated related tasks to the managing organisation of an → training alliance.
DE, AT: training workshops
Cantonal VET offices
(Kantonale Berufsbildungsämter)
The main agencies implementing the tasks of cantons in the sphere of VET are the VET offices, which are in some cantons called Offices for Upper Secondary education and training. They support the parties to the apprenticeship contract, promote VET, safeguard the quality of education and training, bear responsibility for coordinating all VET stakeholders (company, → branch course and → VET school) and also have a supervisory function. In operational, occupation-specific issues, the offices can be supported by experts from professional organisations.
Apprenticeship‑leave examination
(Lehrabschlussprüfung (LAP)*)
The apprenticeship is concluded with the apprenticeship‑leave examination. It comprises a practical and a theoretical examination. The theoretical exam section is waived for apprentices who have completed à part-time vocational school without receiving the grade insufficient. The LAP aims to determine if the apprentices have acquired the know-how required to execute their occupation. The exam is taken in front of experts from their occupation.
DE → final examination
CH → qualification procedure, → final examination
Authorised apprenticeship trainer
(Lehrberechtigte/r *)
The authorised apprenticeship trainer is the person responsible for apprenticeship training in a company.
CH → VET/apprenticeship trainer
DE → (IVET) trainer
Apprenticeship occupations
Apprenticeship occupations are occupations where the qualifications are imparted via the dual system (dual training). The legislator specifies the training contents in an → training regulation and → examination regulation and lays down which knowledge and skills need to be examined in the apprenticeship-leave exam. A prerequisite for being trained in an apprenticeship occupation is completion of general compulsory schooling and conclusion of an apprenticeship contract with a training company. In Austria, apprenticeship training is provided in 197 occupations in crafts and trades and in 14 occupations in agriculture and forestry (as at September 2015).
DE: training occupations
CH, LI → initial vocational education and training (I-VET)
List of apprenticeships
The list of apprenticeships is an alphabetical list of all apprenticeship occupations in the trades, crafts, industry and services sector. It is published by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. The list includes information on the apprenticeship period, on how the occupations are related, and information on applicable training and examination regulations of the individual occupations. It does not include the 14 occupations in agriculture and forestry.
Training/host company network
The training/host company network is an alliance of companies which mainly pursue the objective of manufacturing products or rendering services rather than fulfilling training tasks. Such a network is set up to provide sufficiently broad training despite the companies’ specialisations. The → training alliance by contrast is an organisation whose main task is the provision of training. Training alliances are set up to relieve the host companies of organisational tasks, reduce the duration of responsibility, and relieve the burden on host companies related to problems with learners. They can also be understood as a means of professionalising education management.
Apprenticeship remuneration
Apprentices already perform productive work during their apprenticeship period. Therefore they are paid the so-called apprenticeship remuneration by the training company. This remuneration is also paid for the time they attend à part-time vocational school.
DE → training allowance
CH, LI: learner’s pay, also: learner’s salary
Apprenticeship office
The apprenticeship office is the first point of contact for all issues related to apprenticeship training. In every Austrian province there is an apprenticeship office at the regional economic chamber (for all occupations in crafts and trades) and an apprenticeship and specialist training office (for all occupations in agriculture and forestry). The apprenticeship contract is recorded by the apprenticeship offices, where learners also register for the apprenticeship-leave examination.
DE: Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses
CH → Cantonal VET offices
Apprenticeship contract
The apprenticeship contract is a written agreement concluded between the apprentice and the authorised apprenticeship trainer and its content is precisely laid down by law. The apprenticeship contract forms the basis for the training of apprentices. If the apprentice is below the age of 18 years, his/her legal representative (one parent) also needs to sign it.
In Switzerland, the apprenticeship contract is a particular form of private law contract and is therefore governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations, not by the VPETA.
DE → training contract
Modularisation in the development of apprenticeship occupations refers to a modular structure of apprenticeship training with several combination and specialisation options. Compulsory attendance of a “basic module” guarantees broad basic training. A modular apprenticeship comprises three modules:

  • The basic module usually lasts for two years and covers the knowledge and skills that correspond to the basic activities of one apprenticeship occupation or several apprenticeship occupations in a specific occupational area.
  • A main module has a minimum duration of one year. It covers the knowledge and skills beyond the basic module which are typical of the qualifications of one apprenticeship occupation or several apprenticeship occupations in a specific occupational area. There can be several main modules building on one basic module.
  • A special module has a duration of half a year or a full year and aims to impart further knowledge and skills that correspond to specific modes of production and services.

Modularisation concepts are also found in Switzerland.

Professional organisations
(Organisationen der Arbeitswelt (OdA))
In Switzerland, this is a collective term used to refer to professional, sectoral and employer associations.
Recording of the apprenticeship contract
(Protokollierung des Lehrvertrages*)
When an apprenticeship contract is recorded, this means the apprenticeship office has approved the training relationship. In this process it examines the apprenticeship contract data and the suitability of the training company. This recording is the prerequisite for the later admission of the apprentice to the apprenticeship-leave examination. (BMWFW 2014, p. 17)
Examination regulation
In apprenticeship training, the general examination regulation lays down the provisions governing the implementation of apprenticeship-leave examinations, additional exams, repeat exams, as well as partial and intermediate exams pursuant to the à Vocational Training Act.
CH → initial VET ordinance
Qualification procedure
In Switzerland this is a generic term for all examination procedures serving to ascertain whether an individual has the competences required to acquire a qualification recognised in Switzerland.
AT → apprenticeship-leave examination
DE → final examination
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)
(Staatssekretariat für Bildung, Forschung und Innovation (SBFI))
The SERI is the Swiss competence centre of the confederation for nationally and internationally oriented issues related to education, research and innovation policies.
Partial qualification
Learners acquire a partial qualification where training in an apprenticeship occupation is restricted to parts of the job description and does not cover the entire job description. A partial qualification is permitted only if the trainee, for one reason or another, is not able to learn the entire job description, but not if the company is unable to provide training in the entire job description.
Based on a 2015 amendment to the à Vocational Training Act it is possible to set up standardised training programmes for this purpose.
Supra-company apprenticeship training AT, LI
(Überbetriebliche Ausbildung (ÜBA)*)
Supra-company (apprenticeship) training is understood as training in an occupation which is conducted in a training centre rather than in a company. A prerequisite is that this training centre is equipped in a way that it can impart the occupation-specific practical knowledge and skills. Supra-company training is mainly intended for young people who cannot find an apprenticeship place at a company. Apprentices attending supra-company training are considered equivalent to apprentices in company-based training, both in terms of their obligation to attend à part-time vocational school and also social security legislation. (cf. BAG § 30 and § 30b)
DE → training in extra-company establishments
CH → branch courses in VET centres
Inter-company training centres
(Überbetriebliche Berufsbildungsstätten (ÜBS))
In Germany, the training regulation can stipulate that parts of VET shall be conducted in suitable establishments outside the training company, in inter-company training centres. These cover the VET areas that cannot be covered by an individual company (mostly SMEs). One particular feature is the targeted funding of the further development of inter-company training centres into so-called “competence centres” by the federation. The goal is to develop suitable training establishments into VET service providers. They offer education, training and qualification concepts and also advisory services, especially on new technologies including their application and marketing particularly for SMEs.
AT → complementary training measure
CH → branch courses in VET centres
Branch courses
Kurse (üK))
The Swiss→ vocational education and training comprises beside the learning places → host/training company and → VET school also → branch courses. Therefore, it is sometimes referred to as a “three-track system”. Depending on the occupation, these courses last between a few days and several weeks. They complement professional practice and school-based education. Branch courses are conducted at VET centres, most of which are run by professional organisations.
In Austria, such a three-track training structure can be found only in the construction sector (training company, part-time vocational school and construction academies).
DE → inter-company training centres
AT → complementary training measures
Student-teacher ratios
Student-teacher ratios indicate the ratios between (IVET) trainers and apprentices, i.e. how many apprentices are allowed to be trained by one (IVET) trainer.
Corresponding regulations also exist in DE, LI and CH. But the term is not used in the same way in these countries.
Initial VET ordinance
(Verordnung über die berufliche Grundbildung / Bildungsverordnung (BiVo))
The initial VET ordinances contain, for example, the purpose and duration of the VET programme, information about the learning places and the language of instruction, the professional competences an individual needs in order to execute an occupation, the requirements on host/training companies, and information about the qualification procedure (= final examination). They are issued by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). For most apprenticeship occupations, the training and examination regulations solely refer to the occupation-specific part of the training. General education is regulated in the core syllabus for general education covering different occupations. The objective and structure of the training, broken down into the three places of learning, is regulated in the training plan, which is an independent annex to the ordinances.
DE, AT → training regulation
Federal Act on Continuing Education and Training
This act was adopted in 2014 and, since then, has regulated the entire (non-formal) continuing education and training sector as a nationwide framework act. It also contains provisions on research and development in the continuing education and training sector and the promotion of basic competences of adults.
Intermediate examination
By taking the intermediate examination laid down as compulsory in the → Vocational Training Act (BBiG), the apprentice needs to demonstrate the learning level he/she has achieved. The intermediate examination is taken around the middle of the apprenticeship training period.

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