More apprenticeship positions but poor quality of applicants

According to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the number of new apprenticeship agreements increased by another 9.8% by the end of May 2007 as compared to last year´s figure. By September 30th the number of apprenticeships offered and young people looking for them could even coincide, says the DIHK. However, companies are increasingly worried with regard to the quality of young applicants.

The survey which gave rise to this concern was conducted online among German Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the second half of April and evaluated the replies of more than 10.000 companies of all sizes and from all areas of business.

The survey, however, did not only confirm that in 2007 the number of apprenticeship positions offered by companies increased as compared to 2006, but it also demonstrated that there are less positive developments going on as well: »Companies are increasingly afraid of not finding enough suitable apprentices, warns Mr. Martin Wansleben who is the DIHK managing director. »Already in 2006 one in eight companies could not find suitable applicants for all apprenticeship vacancies.«

More than half of all companies questioned said that lacking maturity for an apprenticeship is the biggest obstacle to school leavers. Criticized are lacking skills regarding oral and written expression as well as well as lacking maths skills and motivation.

In order to change the situation, two thirds of those surveyed think that the education of applicants has to be improved. More than half of companies questioned also contribute in this respect by co-operating with schools providing general education. GERMAN