The corona pandemic is leaving its mark everywhere. In terms of learning, it will be historic. In 2020, 50,000 fewer contracts were signed, almost ten percent fewer – statisticians have never recorded anything like this before. This raises anxious questions: about the future of young people. About skills shortages. What if a German institution now has an expiration date.
The bad numbers are not surprising, of course. If a restaurant has been closed for months, he hesitates on learning. If the counselors don’t come to school as usual, and you can read the drop in sales of potential training companies everywhere, fewer school leavers are finding their way to an apprenticeship.
Perhaps politicians, teachers and professional associations could encourage even more. Because a company that saves a few hundred euros for an apprentice may not have a specialist in two years. Bachelors, on the other hand, are so familiar with cell phones that they could learn about apprenticeships online without consulting a counselor – instead of putting them on hold as a precaution or starting a degree out of embarrassment.
The current development is fatal. Shortly before the start of the apprenticeship year, 130,000 young people are left without care. And companies are already understaffed, although they are barely recovering from Corona. In July, one in three businesses complained of a shortage of skilled labor, the second highest value ever measured. The subject also relates to workers with dual training.
Please more appreciation for craft professions
It would be a mistake to check off this situation with reference to Corona. Activity in the building and craft industries continued fairly normally in 2020. Nevertheless, companies did not find any prospect for 30 to 50% of the trainee positions offered for scaffolders, grocers or workers. plumbers. And customers wait months for a craftsman to come.
The German education system is considered exemplary. Because in addition to universities, practical training is given in companies, while other countries completely train hairdressers or auto mechanics, which means that they can usually do less. From now on, a common effort is necessary so that this pillar of the German economic model does not break. Corona is exacerbating two long-term trends that undermine education: on the one hand, the population is shrinking, on the other hand, more and more young people who drop out of school are striving to go to university.
What can we change? Society should make it seem like someone who tackles with their hands matters too. It means more money. Some industries pay interns just too badly. This also includes better conditions. An apprenticeship in a trade, for example, is more profitable financially than some courses if you are independent. But some are put off by the bureaucracy that comes with running a business. Studying more for a job in a large company seems more practical. Politicians should tame the German trend of improving details so that the number of freelancers does not decline further.
It is fatal that education debates in Germany are dominated by cranky college parents. Secondary schools, and in some cases secondary schools, are considered by many to be second-class institutions. This has an impact on the financing and attractiveness of teaching professions. Instead, a lot more support is needed – learning difficulties, socially disadvantaged children or refugees. Otherwise, a shrinking population will automatically lead to its shortage of skilled workers.