In Germany, students in initial vocational education and training (IVET) accounted for 48.6% of all upper secondary students in 2012, close to the EU average of 50.3%, but below Italy’s 60% according to indicators compiled by Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training). The main difference between Germany’s IVET students and other countries is that 88.2% are enrolled in combined work- and school-based programmes, compared to only 27% in the EU as a whole.

There is growing evidence that young people on high-quality apprenticeships and internships are more likely to acquire useful skills and attitudes to find suitable work and this appears to be the case in Germany. The employment rate for upper-secondary IVET graduates aged 20 to 34 is 83.9%, some 26.2 percentage points higher than that of general education graduates of the same age.

Some 73% of German enterprises also provide training compared to 66% in the EU as a whole. Also, more employees in Germany (28%) participate in on-the-job training compared to the European average (21%). However, in 2012, the percentage of all adults aged 25 to 64 engaged in lifelong learning in Germany was 7.9%, slightly lower than the EU average of 9%, and below the European average target of 15% to be achieved by 2020, but higher than in France (5.7%) and Italy (6.6%). The percentage of older people, the unemployed and those with relatively low qualifications participating in lifelong learning are all lower in Germany than for the EU as a whole.

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