Germany’s unique vocational education and training (VET) system is internationally recognized as being exemplary, largely because the dual system efficiently leads to highly qualified employees and allows for smooth education-to-work transitions. The three tiers in the electrical business sector also rely on the successful VET system. However, ongoing economical changes and the increasing pace of digitalisation make is necessary to re-think and adapt traditional job profiles.
The electrical industry trains and qualifies a great variety of skilled professionals, including Mechatronic Technicians, Tool Engineers, Process Mechanics, Technical Product Designers, Assistants for Digitalisation Management, Warehouse Logistics Experts, Skilled Warehouse Operators, Industrial Managements Assistants, and many more. All on-the-job training in Germany is subject to uniform, nationwide regulations that determine mandatory content, training schedules, and required examinations.
Electrical wholesalers have just recently revised official regulations for their most popular occupational profile to keep up with the actual demands on the market. During the complex revision process experts from companies, employers as well as trade union representatives, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) as well as relevant Federal Ministries have worked closely together to draw up new training regulations and make sure that vocational trainings and qualifications meet the existing and future needs of the business. The new job description and curriculum for Management Assistants in Wholesale and Foreign Trade now reflect the increasing importance of handling electronic business processes, engaging in e-commerce and e-business, overseeing interface management as well as mastering project-based work.
Training to become a Management Assistant in Wholesale and Foreign Trade qualifies employees for a wide range of jobs in wholesale, trade, or manufacturing companies. They purchase goods at home and abroad, oversee logistics, are responsible for marketing and sales or provide customer-related services. Every year, wholesale in Germany signs more than 13,000 new training contracts for future Management Assistants in Wholesale and Foreign Trade – in 2019 this job ranked 11th among the most popular profiles for vocational training in Germany. Approximately 40 percent of all trainees were female and more than 50 percent would have been qualified to go to university. However, vocational training gives employees a promising start to a future career in their training company.
In addition to revising existing job profiles, Germany has also paved the way for a completely new one: In 2018 companies started to qualify the first-ever Management Assistants in E-Commerce – a qualification that closes the gap between traditional sales and digitalisation.
Electrical installers are closest to final consumers and thus, they are always directly affected by changing demands on the market. In 2021, installers will finalize their own revision of vocational education and training curriculums. The original seven job profiles will be consolidated, resulting in a total of five job descriptions, also introducing one that is totally new: The future Electronic Technicians for Building System Integration specialize in building automation and smart home systems. Today, Electronic Technicians for Energy and Building Technology is the most popular job profile for trainees in electrician trade – accounting for 38,576 of the 45,000 electrician trainees in Germany. The future profile will meet the increasing need for sustainable solutions in heat supply, energy generation, and management, as well as the growing demand for complex, integrated smart home solutions.