A real opportunity for students and companies

What is the Dual System?

The “Dual System” is the approach used in Germany and Austria for professional training focused mainly on practical professional work experience in a company, with additionally theoretical and general school parts to complete the training curriculum.

While still in school or right after it, those who choose a professional training instead of a University career look for an apprenticeship position in a company. Once the person is accepted with a labour contract as an apprentice, his or her time is divided between the two activities, on-the-job training and professional school.

The Dual System is a vocational training, not just a professional experience: apprentices “socialise” with their profession, with their colleagues and with the enterprise’s world. They are brought to feel as members of a “community of specialists”, be it craftsmen, industrial workers or qualified employees in the services sector. That raises individual identification with what you are doing: after their apprenticeship a qualified worker in Germany or Austria would never say “I have a job as…” but “I am a… (professional specialist)”.

Dual System vocational training combines school and work experience, and is therefore currently the most efficient way to fill the gap between school and companies, reducing youth unemployment.

What are the benefits of the Dual System?

Apprentices learn to face the challenges of the professional world and truly identify with their skills. During their apprenticeship of normally 3 years they learn the relationship between professional performance, personal appreciation and economic reward.

At the end of the apprenticeship, companies have the possibility to integrate a new colleague into the team. An apprentice has lower costs than a full contract worker. Receiving personal appreciation and economic reward, combined with identification with the professional role and familiarity with the firm, often makes apprentices be much more motivated than unlearned workers.

Moreover, in certain sectors with shortage of skilled workers it is more convenient for companies to train young people as new professionals and potential future full-time employees, instead of searching for them with higher costs on the labour market.

On the other hand side, schools have the satisfaction of seeing their students become highly-qualified and successful professionals, with much less unemployed after their school than in only school based learning systems.

What is EU-Duals?

The ERASMUS+ project “European Dual System (EU-DualS)” wants to test the transfer of the German “Dual System” to other VET training systems in Europe. The EU-DualS partners ADEGI, BVMW, CONFAPI and European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME believe that this approach will create a bridge between professional schools and the job market, integrating students more and more into the work environment.

The project has a preparatory phase to define the guidelines for the transfer. During three workshops, teachers, entrepreneurs and education professionals in the participating countries (Germany, Italy and Spain) will investigate hands-on solutions to apply the German Dual System to Italy and Spain, supported by the Research Institute on Professional Training F-BB from Nuremberg (D). The project will then run a pilot scheme with selected classes in vocational schools in Italy and Spain, aimed at engaging around 50 European students overall from the Technical High-school “Andrea Ponti” in Gallarate (Italy) and the CIFP USURBIL LHII – Usurbilgo Lanbide Eskola in San Sebastián (Spain).

A part of these students will then move to Germany for a one-month traineeship in small and medium-sized enterprises, in order to gain working experience abroad, likewise today’s University students with ERASMUS, or former “trekking” craftsmen in the middle-ages.

If the project succeeds in bringing the “proof of principle” that the Dual System can be successfully transferred to other European countries’ VET systems, European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME and its partners will use this argument to campaign for profound political reforms in professional training.


European Dual System

For Enterprises

EU-DualS for Enterprises.

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For Students

EU-DualS for Students.

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For Schools

EU-DualS for Schools.

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Guidelines to EU-DualS.

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European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME
Stefan Moritz | Managing Director

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