Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Austria General Directorate for Technical and Vocational Education, Adult Education and Sport

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1 Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Austria General Directorate for Technical and Vocational Education, Adult Education and Sport Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture Vienna, January 2011

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3 Table of contents Page Preface 5 01 The Austrian education system 7 02 VET schools and colleges in Austria Part-time vocational schools Schools and colleges for engineering, arts and crafts Schools and colleges of business administration Schools and colleges of management and service industries 29 Schools and colleges of tourism Schools and colleges of fashion and clothing, colleges of artistic design Schools of social occupations 07 Colleges of agriculture and forestry Qualifications, certificates and diplomas Educational standards in VET 39 Learning outcome-oriented and competence-oriented VET curricula 10 The VET Quality Initiative QIBB Going international! Information technologies in the VET school sector Entrepreneurship and training firms Initial, continuing and further training of teachers 57 at VET schools and colleges 15 Adult education Physical exercise and sport Glossary 69

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5 Preface The tradition of VET schools and colleges dates back to the 19 th century. Since then, the schoolbased VET sector has undergone continual expansion and further development with much success. The Austrian school system and the variety of offers, particularly in the VET sector, enable our students to complete a cutting-edge, quality-oriented training that is recognised across Europe. In this way, young people lay the foundation for a successful start into working life and also have good career opportunities internationally. More than 80 percent of Austrian students participate in an initial vocational training programme. This proves the attractiveness of VET schools and colleges as well as apprenticeship training in Austria. This brochure presents the individual school types within the VET school system and addresses innovative, forward-looking educational topics as well as continuing vocational training, lifelong learning in the adult education sector. The employees of the General Directorate for Vocational Education and Training of the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture are committed and work tirelessly to further develop and internationalise the VET school sector. They are aware of their responsibility for safeguarding the high quality of the VET school sector in cooperation with all stakeholders of the school process. Dr. Claudia Schmied Federal Minister for Education, Arts and Culture

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7 01 The Austrian education system (Simplified chart) Page 7

8 Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture FEDERAL MINISTER Dr. Claudia Schmied Federal Minister s Office Secretary General International Affairs Staff Department Southeast Europe Internal Audit Division Information Technology; Educational Statistics; Gender Central GD Organisational issues controlled by the Ministry Budget coordination Facilities management Public relations Approval of teaching material Central funding coordination GD I General education Quality development and assurance University colleges of education GD II Vocational education and training (VET) schools and colleges Adult education School sport GD III Staff and school management Legal issues GD IV Culture GD V Arts-related issues Page 8

9 GENERAL DIRECTORATE II Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education, School Sport Director General Mag. Theodor Siegl Fundamental issues of VET National and international educational policy strategies Planning and equipment issues Gender mainstreaming Cost and activity accounting Educational standards QIBB ESF coordination Unit 21: Part-time vocational schools Part-time vocational schools (dual training) pedagogical issues Berufsreifeprüfung (in cooperation with Unit 25) [S] Unit 22: Schools and colleges of engineering, arts and crafts Secondary schools and colleges of engineering, arts and crafts Direct supervision of specific schools and colleges Applied research centres Unit 23: Schools and colleges of business administration and educational counselling Schools and colleges of business administration Business education and entrepreneurship [S] ACT - the Austrian Centre for Training Firms [S] Public relations [S] Initial and further training for guidance and counselling teachers [S] Unit 24: Schools and colleges of social and services industries and of agriculture and forestry Schools and colleges of management and services industries, schools and colleges of tourism, schools and colleges of fashion, colleges of artistic design Colleges of agriculture and forestry Schools of social occupations and of social care occupations General language education [S] Unit 25: Adult education Adult education 2 nd chance education in adult education Berufsreifeprüfung (in cooperation with Unit 21) [S] Federal Institute for Adult Education Page 9

10 Unit 26: Initial, continuing and further education and training for teachers at VET schools and colleges, VET data [S] Coordination of the further and continuing training programmes of university colleges of education Initial, continuing and in-service training for teachers Statistics and data analysis Training of head teachers Unit 27: National implementation of the international VET policy [S] National implementation of the European educational policy Europass, Leonardo Da Vinci, Cedefop Educational standards in VET Competence-oriented teaching Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation for VET schools and colleges, Vocational Training Act National Qualifications Framework (NQF) ESF measures Unit 28: School development, schools for people in employment, IT-related issues [S] Information technologies for VET schools and colleges School development, school programmes and quality assurance Educational programmes for employees ARQA-VET Natural sciences in VET Educational planning, economy and system monitoring Unit 29: Physical exercise and sport; school competitions, construction of sports facilities, federal school camps Physical exercise and sport instruction School competitions Construction of sports facilities Federal sport academies; federal school camps [S] = for the GD s sphere, cross-unit Page 10

11 02 VET schools and colleges in Austria Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK) The BMUKK s General Directorate for Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education and School Sport The units that are responsible for vocational education and training (VET) fulfil those tasks related to school administration within the VET sector which according to legislation are within the BMUKK s remit. School legislation is implemented in the governmental school authorities, i.e. the regional education boards at provincial level. The VET-related units are responsible for the following areas of school-based education and training (at the upper secondary level): pedagogical matters and subject- and occupation-specific issues (e.g. curriculum development); continuing and further training of teachers; facility management; school development and research on education, training and qualifications; international cooperation; and much more. This General Directorate is also the umbrella organisation for adult education and school sport/sport-related issues related to the competence of BMUKK. VET schools and colleges provide initial vocational education and training (IVET) programmes of differing duration and at various levels in addition to broad general education from the ninth school year. VET schools and colleges include: Part-time vocational schools Schools and colleges for engineering, arts and crafts Schools and colleges of business administration Schools and colleges of management and service industries Schools and colleges of tourism Schools and colleges of fashion and clothing and of artistic design Schools of social occupations Colleges of agriculture and forestry Sport academies Nursery teacher training colleges and colleges of social pedagogy including special forms for people in employment and pilot projects. A variety of initial education and training paths With the exception of part-time vocational schools (school-based training within the dual system), they can be organised in different forms with courses of differing length (1-5 years): VET schools: 3 or 4 years: full-time school from the 9 th school year; IVET qualification 1 or 2 years: full-time school from the 9 th school year; vocational training basis VET college: 5 years: full-time school from the 9 th school year; IVET qualification Add-on course: 3 years: full-time school from the 9 th school year following completion of VET school Post-secondary VET course: 4 semesters: full-time school after the Reifeprüfung (educational objective of the VET college) Schools and colleges for people in employment: 4-8 semesters: the above-mentioned school types in the form of an evening school Page 11

12 It is possible to change between the individual types of VET schools and colleges with the same curriculum. Should the curriculum differ, examinations (in certain subjects) are required. Pathways to VET schools and colleges After completion of primary school (years 1-4), pupils can complete secondary level I (years 5-8) either at lower secondary school, at a secondary academic school (lower cycle) or the new secondary school. Admission to VET schools and colleges (at the upper secondary level) is possible upon successful completion of year 8. Depending on previous education and desired school type, additional entry requirements include previous school performance in specific subjects and/or an entrance examination. More than 80% of 14-year-old Austrian young people opt for the VET sector route. Initial vocational education and training (IVET) Learning for the future Opportunities for life EU recognition for VET college is the major concern of VET schools and colleges, alongside the provision of sound general education. Direct entry into a profession or different forms of continuing vocational education and training (CVET) opportunities are an asset to their graduates. VET schools and colleges have been experiencing continuous growth in the number of students for three decades, not least because of the balanced provision of broad general education, occupation-related theory and occupation-related practice (including compulsory or optional work-placements, depending on the type of school) and because of a variety of specific training opportunities and special training focuses of varying duration. Since the early 1990s VET colleges have become very popular. Their students graduate with the Reifeprüfung certificate and VET diploma, which thanks to the combination of professional qualifications, general access to higher education and the colleges recognition at European level secures a high qualification level. The Berufsreifeprüfung Berufsreifeprüfung for adults Berufsreifeprüfung: Apprenticeship diploma plus the certificate of secondary education The introduction of the Berufsreifeprüfung (or BRP) in 1997 has led to an increased permeability of the education system. The Berufsreifeprüfung does not lead to the acquisition of any professional qualifications but provides the general higher education entrance qualification to graduates of the dual system (apprenticeship-leave examination), graduates of VET schools of at least three years duration, graduates of schools for healthcare and nursing, graduates of schools for paramedical training, as well as to graduates of the skilled workers examination pursuant to the Vocational Training Act for Agriculture and Forestry and people with the entrance examination pursuant to the Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation. Prior school attendance is not required for admission to the Berufsreifeprüfung examinations. Since autumn 2008 preparation for the Berufsreifeprüfung examination is offered in parallel to apprenticeship training and is also fully subsidised in this form (under the name Berufsreifeprüfung: Apprenticeship diploma plus certificate of secondary education). Apprentices who are interested in obtaining a general education sign up to this programme; they can acquire access to higher education combined with a vocational qualification as early as 19 years of age. Preparatory courses are offered by adult education institutions recognised by BMUKK (e.g. the vocational training institutes [BFIs], the economic promotion institutes [WIFIs], adult education centres [Volkshochschulen]) and some VET schools and colleges. Examinations can also be conducted at certified adult education institutions in up to 3 specialist areas. Similar preparatory courses organised at adult education institutions or by associations can be attended by apprentices free of charge. Self-study In principle, examinations set by VET schools and colleges and their special forms for people in employment, including the Reife- und Diplomprüfung and the final examination of VET school, can be taken without prior school attendance. Page 12

13 At the schools for people in employment of which there are some 80 locations in Austria the school subjects were implemented in a modular format in line with the amendment to the School Organisation Act for people in employment in July Module denotes the curriculum of a subject in one semester; this facilitates the advancement of employed students at schools and makes adultoriented educational programmes possible. The new Act has also led to progress in terms of the recognition of non-formally acquired knowledge and andragogical support. This allows people in employment to access programmes, add-on courses and post-secondary VET courses in modularised forms. Modularisation at schools for people in employment Legislative framework Relevant basic legislation is embodied in the School Organisation Act (SchOG) and School Instruction Act (SchUG) and can be changed by Parliament acting with a simple majority following a consultation process. The curricula of the various school types are decreed by the BMUKK as ordinances. Costs and finance With the exception of private schools, VET school and college attendance is free. This also applies to post-secondary VET courses and the special forms for people in employment. Contributions for textbooks, travel to school and materials have to be made, however. Fees are charged for school trips and other events as well as boarding facilities (grants are possible). The federal government bears the costs of facilities and maintenance of public VET schools and colleges with the exception of schools of agriculture and forestry and part-time vocational schools (where costs are borne by the respective regional government, which is also in charge of these schools). The federal government also meets the salaries of teachers at VET schools and colleges including those at private schools with public-law status. The costs for teaching staff at part-time vocational schools and schools of agriculture and forestry are shared by the federal and regional governments. School inspection At the upper secondary level, responsibility lies with the regional education boards competent at provincial level. Regional school inspectors, each of them in charge of a particular school type, are entrusted with supervision. The colleges of agriculture and forestry and some schools and colleges for engineering, industry and trade, however, are under direct supervision of BMUKK. Involvement of other ministries Certain areas of the VET sector fall within the remit of other ministries, such as of the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (e.g. company-based training of apprentices and accreditation of professional qualifications), the Federal Ministry for Health (e.g. schools for healthcare and nursing) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. The social partners The Austrian system of economic and social partnership is based on voluntary cooperation between statutory and voluntary interest groups and with government representatives. Statutory interest groups: These are the representatives of the employers (Federal Economic Chamber), employees (Federal Chamber of Labour) and of agriculture (Standing Conference of the Presidents of the Agricultural Chambers). Voluntary interest groups include the Federation of Austrian Industry and the Austrian Trade Union Federation. In the field of school-based education, the social partners are involved in legislation and the adoption of ordinances (for new curricula, for example). Page 13

14 Cooperation with the business sphere Training for the world of work Cooperation with the business sphere plays a major role for all those concerned in the field of VET schools and colleges. On the one hand, curricula and special focuses are thus adapted to the requirements of the economy, on the other, enterprises offer subject-specific professional apprenticeship training and/or places for mandatory work-placement. The results of research and development are implemented in a practice-oriented way in joint projects between schools and industry, e.g. in the form of diploma projects or projects carried out in training firms. Nearly all teachers of occupation-related and practice-oriented subjects boast practical experience in the private sector. Educational guidance and counselling Counselling and guidance at VET schools and colleges is provided by specially trained teachers, who are available for information and guidance, preparation for decision-making, assistance and individual advice to pupils. One to three teachers at every school are active in educational guidance and counselling, depending on the number of students there. Educational counselling teachers work with feeder schools, with educational counselling teachers at lower secondary and lower secondary academic school, new secondary school and other advisory services for school leavers (the Public Employment Service Austria, the representative body of university students Austrian Students Union, etc.). Good report for Austrian schools Annual educational monitoring The annual educational monitoring survey is a comprehensive study in the framework of which 2,000 people from across Austria are questioned on the school and education system (since 1993). Assessment is based on the Austrian school grading system: ranging from excellent (1) = the best mark to not sufficient (5) (or fail ) = the worst mark. (IFES 2009 school monitoring. Representative survey among population) The trend over the past few years reveals that the image of the individual school forms has improved or hardly changed; about 60% of interviewees rate the Austrian national education system as excellent (1) or good (2). VET colleges In an overall comparison of ratings for individual school types, VET colleges as well as Fachhochschule programmes achieve the best ratings with a mean value (school mark) of 2.1. Also in the mean value scale of 2.0 to 2.8 are the population ratings for part-time vocational schools and VET schools (with 2.3 each), which is a very positive result. Page 14

15 Key data: Development of student figures: / / /2010 BS BMS BHS AHS Distribution of all pupils in year 10: AHS 20% BS 38% AHS 20% BHS 26% BMS 16% BBS 80% Distribution of Reifeprüfung certificates: AHS 40% BHS 60% Abbreviations: AHS = here: upper cycle of academic secondary school BS = part-time vocational school BMS = VET school BHS = VET college BBS = VET schools and colleges Page 15

16 Locations of VET schools and colleges (2010): Part-time vocational schools: 160 VET schools: 500 VET colleges: 300 Curricula: 490 Teachers: 27,000 Educational attainment of young people (2009): Ratio of 20- to 24-year-old people with upper secondary qualification (ISCED 3A/B or higher), in relation to total population of the same age: Austria: 86% EU 27: 79% Early school leavers (2009): Have not obtained any school qualification at upper secondary level and are currently not in training: Austria: 8.7% EU 27: 14.9% Youth unemployment rate (15-24 years; 2009): Austria: 10.0% EU 27: 19.6% Participation of adults in lifelong learning (2008): Austria: 13.2% EU 27: 9.5% Number of KEBÖ s events and attendances (2009): Short events (1-4 periods of instruction) Courses Total Special events Events 75, , ,122 19,337 Attendances 1,213,922 1,691,966 2,905,888 1,449,172 Austrian school grading system: Excellent (1) best mark Good (2) Satisfactory (3) Sufficient (4) Not sufficient (5) fail Duration of instruction: of one school year: September to June (approx. 40 weeks) of one lesson (teaching unit): 45 / 50 minutes Classes per week (VET school and VET college): hours Classes per week (part-time vocational school, by block): hours Abbreviations: BS = part-time vocational school BMS = VET school BHS = VET college KEBÖ = Austrian Conference of Adult Education Institutions Sources: Statistics Austria, European Commission, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, AMS research network, BMUKK Page 16

17 03 Part-time vocational schools Young people who have concluded an apprenticeship training agreement with a company that is authorised to train apprentices are obliged to attend part-time vocational schools. This type of vocational education and training system is termed "dual VET system" (or "dual system" for short), as educational tasks are split between two providers: the company and part-time vocational school. Dual system The Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth is responsible for the respective company-based training profiles, and the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture for pedagogical matters at part-time vocational school. The training at the enterprise is financed by the training company, the vocational school is financed by the public, with the federal government and state governments sharing the costs. Federal states are responsible for the construction and equipment of vocational schools. The federal and state governments each fund 50% of the financing of vocational school teachers. Occupations Vocational schools are attended for as many school years as necessary for the apprenticeship training. Depending on the apprenticeship trade, the length of training is between two and four, but usually three years. Currently there are over 220 recognised apprenticeship trades, which can be summarised under the following groups: Over 220 apprenticeship occupations Construction Office, administration, organisation Chemistry Printing, photographic, graphic and paper industries Electrical engineering, electronics Gastronomy Health and body care Wholesale and retail trade Wood, glass and clay industries Information and communication technologies Food and beverages Metal and machine engineering industries Fashion, textiles, leather industries Animals and plants Transport and warehousing Due to ongoing structural changes in the economy and society, apprenticeship occupations are subject to constant modifications. A dynamic development of new apprenticeship trades is noticeable above all in the services sector. The apprenticeship-leave examination is taken after completion of the apprenticeship period to establish whether the apprentice has acquired the necessary skills and knowledge for the apprenticeship occupation in question and is able to carry out the activity particular to that occupation in a proper manner. The apprenticeship-leave examination is divided into a practical and a theoretical section and consists of a written and an oral part. Apprenticeship-leave examination If the student has fulfilled requirements according to the teaching objective of the final year of vocational school, the examination will only consist of the practical section. Within the framework of the apprenticeship-leave examination of a four-year apprenticeship, students have the option to take a voluntary additional areaspecific exam. Successful completion of this exam is recognised as the partial exam termed "specialist area" within the framework of Berufsreifeprüfung. Page 17

18 Continuing vocational education and training options After successfully completing the apprenticeship-leave exam, graduates have the following continuing vocational education and training (CVET) options: to complete the master craftsperson exam for a craft or trade (parts of this exam are waived); to complete a professional diploma examination for another regulated craft or trade or to be admitted to it if the entry requirement is a relevant initial vocational training qualification; entry to further education through the Berufsreifeprüfung examination or the respective university entrance examination as a requirement for study at universities, Fachhochschulen, post-secondary VETcourses, and university colleges of education. An outline curriculum General provisions The curriculum of vocational schools is an outline, specifying objectives, content and procedures for planning and implementation of the learning processes. It enables teachers to conduct their educational work independently and responsibly within the given scope. It is the task of the Regional Boards of Education to lay down both the number of lessons and the syllabi of the individual subjects for the individual grades within the given framework by additional curriculum regulations, where this is not specified by curricula. The syllabi for all subjects include: training and teaching objectives stating the learning outcomes, skills and abilities the student is to be taught and the knowledge the student should have; teaching material specifying the extent of educational content; teaching principles as guidelines for teachers. Educational objectives Promoting general education and company-based training The task of part-time vocational schools is to teach the relevant theory necessary to accompany the job, to complement company-based training and expand general education. Educational work at vocational schools takes account of the close connection with the world of work due to company-based training. On the basis of practical experiences, students at vocational schools are qualified to independently acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes and are encouraged to take part in CVET measures. Teaching objectives The focus on cross-curricular treatment of teaching content aims to qualify students to apply their knowledge and skills in different situations. Projectoriented teaching, particularly in the higher grades, makes connections between the individual syllabi and subjects understandable. Integral, holistic education implies that personal development is seen as very important at vocational schools, focusing on extending and developing social skills such as openness, teamwork and the ability to deal with conflicts; promoting communicative skills; and strengthening self-competences such as selfassessment, self-confidence and the ability to deal with stress. For this purpose, problem- and process-oriented learning methods, collective training sessions, partner work and other social forms of teaching, as well as presentations, discussions, etc. are applied. Educational contents Within the scope of this task, compulsory subjects of the curriculum include: German and Communicative Competence, Job-related Foreign Language, Political Education, Business Studies and the necessary technical theory and practical subjects required for the respective apprenticeship occupation (including Religious Education in the Tyrol and Vorarlberg). Page 18

19 Optional subjects are Foreign Languages, German, and Religious Education (except in the Tyrol and Vorarlberg); Physical Education and Sport is voluntary. Organisation of teaching Teaching in part-time vocational schools can be organised as follows: all year round: i.e. at least on one full school-day or at least two half school-days a week by block: i.e. for at least eight weeks continuously Seasonally: i.e. teaching takes place in block form at a particular time of year The variety of organisation forms is due to consultation between the business sphere and those responsible for school instruction and takes account of the individual economic and regional sectors needs. Teachers at part-time vocational schools In part-time vocational schools, a distinction is made between teachers of Groups I, II and III. Teachers of Groups I and II have a teaching load of 23 hours per week each and teach general-education and business-related subjects (Group I) or craft-specific theoretical subjects (Group II). Since October 2007, education and training courses for vocational school teachers have been provided by university colleges of education, for which the following access requirements must be fulfilled: How to become a vocational school teacher a) for Groups I and II: successful completion of Reife- und Diplomprüfung of a related VET college or successful completion of Reifeprüfung or Berufsreifeprüfung and a relevant training programme; b) for Group III (occupation-related practical subjects): successful completion of a related master craftsperson examination or an equivalent relevant qualification as well as general university entrance qualifications; and c) in all cases: at least three years of relevant practical professional experience. Regular students who have less than 120 ECTS credits are obliged to provide evidence of general university entrance qualifications (that means e.g. Reifeprüfung, Berufsreifeprüfung or the higher education entrance examination). The 1st and 2nd semesters as well as the 5 th and 6 th semesters must be completed on a part-time basis, the 3rd and 4th as full-time study courses. Graduates are awarded the academic degree Bachelor of Education (BEd). The federal states are the principal employers of vocational school teachers and employ future pedagogues as contract teachers at the beginning of their careers. Characteristics of the dual training system The Austrian apprenticeship training system is a very practice-oriented VET model, whose significance is rated highly across the country. Due to the wide variety of qualification options ranging from partial qualifications to high-tech occupations and Berufsreifeprüfung, apprenticeship training opens up opportunities to acquire all qualifications which are provided by the Austrian VET market. Whether with or without the Reifeprüfung certificate, dual training is adjusted flexibly to the most differing talents and needs. Training at two places of learning Page 19

20 Young people who boast a Reifeprüfung certificate and take up an apprenticeship training enjoy shortened training periods and improved employment opportunities upon successful completion of the apprenticeship-leave examination. There is a high demand for young people with an apprenticeship diploma in the business sphere; these skilled workers also make up a considerable proportion of self-employed people in business start-up statistics. In addition, the pathway towards entrepreneurship has been made easier by the validation of professional qualifications acquired in the course of the training, because it results in the waiving of parts of the master craftsperson examination. Apprenticeship training also represents a suitable training track for socially and physically disadvantaged young people and less gifted youth to realise their potential vocational skills, as it allows individual needs to be met in a customised manner and thus provides an important impetus towards integrating this group of people into the world of work. Integrative vocational training Opportunities for everyone Integrative VET aims to be a suitable training track for socially and physically disadvantaged young people and less gifted youth to realise their potential vocational skills during their apprenticeship training. Integrative VET is offered both as an apprenticeship training scheme with a longer training period and as a VET programme imparting partial qualifications in order to provide access to the labour market to those people who cannot acquire an apprenticeship diploma. The possibility of a tailored training scheme enables companies, specific autonomous training establishments and part-time vocational schools to cater for individual abilities and skills and meet individual needs. Cooperation between part-time vocational schools and the world of business Best practice Cooperation and partnership between all stakeholders in VET independent of the place of learning is a key factor ensuring the success of the dual training system. Modern-day VET requires close interaction between theory and practice, between school-based instruction and in-company practice. Large retail chains and industrial enterprises are increasingly using the potential inherent in apprenticeship training and, in collaboration with vocational schools, are developing complementary training models tailored to future skilled workers. These intensive contacts and cooperation ventures between the world of business and part-time vocational schools represent major launch pads for the further development and quality assurance of apprenticeship training. Support programme: Berufsreifeprüfung apprenticeship and upper secondary certificate Opening up prospects, using potential by enhancing permeability The support programme Berufsreifeprüfung: apprenticeship diploma and the upper secondary certificate, which was launched in autumn 2008, aims to open up prospects and use potential. Apprentices with an apprenticeship contract or training agreement are given the option to prepare during their apprenticeship for the Berufsreifeprüfung exam in free-of-charge courses, whereby three examination modules can be taken before the apprenticeship-leave examination. The costs for these preparatory measures are borne by the federal government. The provider organisations in the provinces are responsible for organising the measure. Page 20

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