Continuous Vocational Education and Training in Germany

CVET in Germany. Source: Sandra Bohlinger, UOS.

In terms of regulated CVET, the standard precondition for most types of continuing vocational education and training (CVET) is a completed IVET qualification or a higher education degree. An exception is retraining that aims at providing a vocational qualification for those who are not or no longer able to work in the occupational field which they were trained for (e.g. due to an occupational disease). The term “regulated” CVET refers to the fact that these training programmes are based on (national) acts regulating the scope, content, objectives and examinations of the programmes (e.g. master craftsmen, business administrator, graduate in business administration, skilled worker).

In comparison, further training for career advancement aims at promotion and advancement within an occupational field or for a particular occupation (e.g. master craftsmen training) while adaptive further training aims at updating, maintaining and extending vocational skills to remain employable. Most types of regulated CVET programmes are school-based and offered by full-time or part-time trade and technical schools (Fachschulen) which provide e.g. master craftsmen training.

In-company training is up to the companies and refers to any type of training (except IVET) that takes place in the enterprise or on the job within working hours and usually financed by the enterprise. However, in-company training it is often outsourced and provided by chambers, professional associations or private training providers.


In terms of individually organised and financed CVET, the so-called Volkshochschulen (adult education centers, VHS) are the most important publicly funded training providers offering (amongst many other types of courses) numerous work-related CVET trainings, workshops and – in co-operation with chambers and professional associations – preparatory classes for regulated training exams.