Best practices for a green recovery? German electrical contractors took on 45.000 apprentices in 2019 alone and are proposing new incentives

2019 figures of ZVEH, the German Electro- and Information Technology Trades Association and EuropeOn member, showed a new increase regarding the number of apprentices – the fifth in a row! The number of successfully passed companion’s and master’s examination increased as well. 

Increase in the number of new contracts, in particular for women 

15.172 apprentices started their electrotechnical apprenticeship in 2019, an increase of 1,7 percent (+ 252) compared to 2018. Therefore, the figures show that the positive development in the electrotechnology sector continues, while other crafts and branches bewail a recession of apprentices. 

13.257 young people – the lion’s share of all new apprentices in the electrotechnical trades sector – decided to start an apprenticeship for the Electrician Sp. Energy and Building technologies (+ 2,3 %). There was also a growing number of apprentices for Electrician Machines and Drives  (+ 4,1 %) and the Electrician Sp. Automation technologies  (+ 3,8 %). 

2019 figures also show an impressive rise concerning the number of female apprentices: compared to 2018 their number increased faster than average (+ 15,4 %). 

Overall 44.746 apprentices

But the good news are not limited to the number of new apprenticeship contracts. Due to their increase, the number of total electrotechnical apprentices rose as well: + 3,5%, with a total of 44.746 (2018: 43.250). Electrotechnical apprentices do actually represent nearly 14 percent of all apprentices in skilled crafts and trades in Germany (325.242).

Comparing the different training courses – in Germany there are seven – the apprentices favoured the Electrician Sp. Energy and Building technologies: 38.576 of them joined this training course (+ 4 %). At the same time the Information Electrician became less attractive (-7,4 %). 

Completion rate rises

Following the positive news, the number of young people finishing their electrotechnical apprenticeship with a degree rose as well. In 2019 at least 8.900 apprentices completed their companion’s exam successfully – an increase of 1,3 percent (2018: 8.744). 

More positive: female apprentices had a better completion rate than their male colleagues. 88,4 percent of them passed their examination leading to a degree (male: 80,4 %). 

Master craftsman (Meister) degree becomes more attractive 

There is a growing number of Electricians that want to climb the ladder and therefore decide to go on with learning. 2.333 professionals headed for the master craftsman (Meister) degree (+ 1,8 %) in order to broaden their skillset, to have the opportunity to build up their own business, to take over management functions or to switch to college. Besides the good perspectives, electrotechnical professionals benefit from the fact that in Europe the “Meisterbrief” is equal to the Bachelor degree, according to the European Qualifications Framework. This comparability is contributing to the rising attractiveness of the master craftsman degree. 

New training courses 

In order to boost the attractiveness of the electrotechnical qualification and to qualify the offspring for upcoming challenges, ZVEH started reorganising the Electro- and Information technology Trades qualification in 2019. While the number of courses is reduced from seven to five there is also a completely new course: the “Electrician for building systems integration”. With this new field of activity the German electrotechnical sector wants to broaden its competence in the growing building automation and Smart Home area. The new training course will start in autumn 2021. 

Apprenticeships in the Corona-crisis

To facilitate the situation and to avoid that a lot of SMEs stop training the next generations or stop offering apprenticeships, the German government has launched a special apprenticeship bonus for enterprises who keep on training and who offer apprenticeships despite the fact that the situation has become more difficult because of Corona. With this tool apprenticeship rate shall be kept as high as possible. 

Well equipped for upcoming challenges

While a lot of branches and crafts complain about not having enough young professionals, the electrotechnical sector is well equipped for the future. A fact that will become even more important when conquering the corona crisis, because it will turn out that the search for trained and qualified staff will increase dramatically. Especially in Germany, the reasons are obvious: digitalisation and energy transition will need a high number of electrotechnical specialists in the long run. 

ZVEH therefore is continuously working on special youth marketing and bundles all its activities with a focus on youth under the generic term “E-Zubis”. Activities embrace social media as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, adverts and campaigns. In addition, ZVEH uses tools for school education to even inspire younger pupils.