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ESF in NRW. Industry-wide apprentice training/Skilled trades

Foto: Kursleiter erklärt dem Auszubildenden Feinwerkmechaniker die Maschinenbedienung. Im Hintergrund lernen die anderen Kursteilnehmer das Programmieren von Maschinen.

To ease the burden on skilled-trade companies – More apprenticeships and better quality of training.

Apprenticeships in the skilled trades enjoy an outstanding international reputation. The generous number of apprenticeships and the quality of training is largely due to the industry-wide apprentice training scheme, ÜLU.  Management of the funding structures is the task of the LGH, the commercial operations support centre in Düsseldorf, which is run by North Rhine-Westphalia’s skilled trades sector.

In NRW alone, some 81000 young people are undergoing training in the skilled trades. Without the ÜLU scheme, their number would be much more limited. The reason is that in view of individual order volumes and specialisations, not every potential host employers would be able to cover the full spectrum of apprenticeship rules and regulations.  Industry-wide apprentice training is a valuable tool when it comes to helping apprentices to learn the required skills and proficiencies in every detail.

The scheme is administered at the 100 or so vocational education centres in North Rhine-Westphalia, which are run by district-based skilled-trade associations, sectoral groups and chambers of crafts. Some say that, owing to their close links to local and regional business, the education centres are the ‘extended workbench’ of host employers as well as skills clusters of vocational training in the crafts and technology-based occupations. There are course programmes for the more than 100 apprenticeable occupation, from opticiant to metalworker and bicycle technician.

The dual education system combines apprenticeships in a company – the host employer - and vocational education at a vocational school. Host-employer-based training is augmented by the industry-wide scheme, which is bankrolled by North Rhine-Westphalia’s Ministry for Work, using state and ESF funding..