Work-based training in companies performs different functions in relation to Germany’s dual systems in higher education. For students, work-based training provides them with a knowledge and understanding of what work is, and what occupational areas they are attracted to. It provides training for the students in the real-work environment to build specific competences needed for particular jobs. For the employer, it allows him to test the students skills in different functions and get the assessment of managers before the graduate is hired.
Work-based training at the DHBW has strong associations with vocational education and training in the form of apprenticeships and traineeships. However in the case of the dual study programmes at the DHBW, the work-based training of three months after each semester necessarily incorporate significant periods of time within the workplace and at different functions within the company/ workplace and therefore include episodic periods of learning as students progress through their 3 years study programme.
Work-based training therefore plays a dual function for students alongside the study period. It offers the students a way of learning about different jobs in the company and help them to be informed about the various choices; but it also provides skills, knowledge and accreditation which give students access to opportunities in a company based on the students‘ personal skills set.
Alumni of the DHBW often argue: “We know after the 4. semester, what we don`t want to do in a company. We early understand if we have the skills to become a good salesman or if we better should work in the HR department.“
High motivation and matching between individuals and job positions is usually sustainable only if the decisions which job the graduate will take is based on personal understanding of the self, the labour market and occupational needs.
The work-based training after each semester has a strong impact on the students career path and also on the labour market if these activities are based on individual decisions. They are aligned both with (i) economic and labour market needs but also with (ii) individual career constructions which keep the individuals moving towards certain educational, economic and labour market targets and translating these objectives to personalised ones. The embedded engagement of work-based training in the study programme and curriculum as well as successful graduation from it depend upon strong correspondence with the individuals’ work values, interests, skills and motivations.
In Germany work-based training is part of the cultural heritage, as well as providing the basis for sustained economic growth through the continuing supply of skilled young people into businesses. Practices such as mentoring and co-referral between education providers and employers are an established part of the industrial practices that underpin growth and innovation.
In Germany the federal law regulates the organisational structure of the HVET component in companies; laws of the Länder regulate dual education.
Some countries have strong, well-established and culturally embedded systems such as the dual training system in Austria, or well-advertised and well-known traineeship/ internship opportunities as in Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.