Apprentice Appeal

Meet the Parents

Apprenticeship training schools are uniquely German, but applicant numbers are falling.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Falling interest amongst school-leavers in German’s excellent vocational training system directly affects youth unemployment rates and creates a lack of skilled workers across trade and service jobs.

  • Facts


    • In the next 10 years, the number of the students in Germany will drop by around 10 percent.
    • The number of students going to universtity in the country has doubled in a decade.
    • Germany has 340 occupations that require vocational training.
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Nicole Heinrich’s last parents’ night included snacks and candles in a group circle. But the information session wasn’t for parents of ninth-graders and Ms. Heinrich isn’t a teacher. She leads the training and human-resources marketing department at Otto, a German mail order company, and organized this evening at the company headquarters in Hamburg to convince parents of the value of an apprenticeship for their child.

Otto is the largest mail-order company in Europe with annual revenues of €12 billion ($15 billion), 60 percent of which comes from online sales. The group has more than 50,000 employees worldwide. It is, however, seeing a decline in applicants for its vocational training programs.

“Parents are important sparring partners,” said Ms. Heinrich. It is not just Otto that has recognized this. It is becoming a trend across Germany, with more and more companies directly interacting with parents of potential apprentices.

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