Shortage of trainees: do young people have anything against craftsmanship??

"Who wants to see hardworking craftsmen?? He must go to the masons! Stone on stone, stone on stone: the house will soon be…", trallali and trallalaaaa. At least that's the way it was in kindergarten. The fact is that there are around 130 different apprenticeships in the skilled trades – technically demanding, creative, in the health sector or in the food industry.

"When it comes to choosing the right profession, young people should first think about where their talents, interests and strengths lie," says forsbach, says roland maul, training advisor at the chamber of handicrafts for lower franconia. "It would be completely wrong to take up a profession just because it is fashionable at the moment, or perhaps because your friends are learning it."

And then there is the keyword "demographic change" the game: fewer and fewer students were leaving secondary schools. Erwin ruppert, managing director of the schweinfurt construction guild, is referring not only to social developments, but also to the fact that many people have not yet completed their education after graduating from high school. "We already advertise the professions, attend trade fairs, and offer in-depth career guidance in secondary schools," says ruppert, says ruppert.

More than the year before
the building guild takes over the inter-company training. "We are already noticing that not all apprenticeship positions are filled and that there are fewer and fewer of them, says ruppert. However, the construction guild does not collect exact figures. "We cannot say at all that fewer and fewer trainees are being found in the skilled trades", says rolf lauer, chief executive officer of the chamber of handicrafts for lower franconia, who not only has an eye on the building trade.

To the 30. September 2014, the chamber of handicrafts for lower franconia registered 2827 new apprentices, which is 1.22 percent more than in the previous year. But what lauer still finds is that "many young people, as well as parents and teachers, are still not sufficiently aware of career prospects and opportunities," says ruppert."

this fits with ruppert's concern that the tiler's profession could become extinct. "The willingness of tilers to undergo training has declined sharply. Since this is an unlicensed trade, and virtually anyone, even a businessman, can register a trade on his own," he says, says ruppert. Tile, slab and mosaic layers, like bricklayers and concrete and reinforced concrete workers, are among the best-paid apprenticeships, according to the federal institute for vocational education and training.

Question of the right policy
While some trades are enjoying significant growth, such as carpentry, tinsmithing, automotive mechatronics and roofing, other trades are experiencing sharp declines. For example, bakeries were able to take on around one-third fewer apprentice bakers than in the previous year, the chamber of crafts recorded almost 10 percent fewer hairdressers, and around 25 percent fewer specialist saleswomen are being trained in the food trade than in previous years. Every profession that is written about here is of course offered to women and men alike.

While lauer sees a rethink in politics and society, he is surprised – even angry – about statements made by the OECD in the current education report, where "those who complete vocational training are described as educational dropouts" become. "Our economy needs both well-trained skilled workers and academics." he therefore wants the federal government to ensure that the equivalence of vocational and academic education is also "reflected in the financial requirements".

In real life
Gerd Holzer himself came to the trade from industry and would like to give young adults the following advice: "we need people who can work with their hands. Not everything can be done by machines." holzer maschinenbau gmbh from konigsberg was looking for trainees for the 1st time. September 2014 a precision mechanic. "Five, six had applied – but then also canceled again", says holzer. For this year the search is closed. He has found an apprentice in the field of metal construction. Although the search is not always easy, for holzer it is clear that, as a company leader, it is always important to take care of the next generation: "skilled workers", he says and adds nothing more. "Give the children a chance", says the master painter dieter gerstenkorn from ebern. The managing director of maler klee has four children of his own, and knows how happy parents can be when their children are placed in a good apprenticeable trade. His job advertisement this year was successful. But not for long. The painter apprentice quit four weeks after starting his apprenticeship. From one day to the next. "Maybe the painting and plastering profession was too strenuous for him, too dirty", gerstenkorn can only speculate.

He will have to do without the supporting labor force until next year. But then he is again counting on at least one person being seriously interested in the painting profession: "in the past, there were often ten applicants for a job, but today there is often only one, says gerstenkorn, speaking for many craft businesses in the region.

Special features in the district
"The habberge district is a rural region, so a good infrastructure and functioning local networks are correspondingly important", says lauer. Public transport is a key issue here "because it is often too poorly developed, so that trainees can only reach their company with difficulty or not at all." and not every trainee has a driver's license – or is old enough to get one. And there is another point that is not so simple: "we can already tell whether we are dealing with urban or rural children", says ruppert. He can tell whether the apprentices "have already had a broom in their hands". But it's not a question of everyone already knowing everything and being able to do the first things right away. The craft will eventually be learned properly in an average of three years.

And "so good chances for professional success and career" the trainees "have never actually had", lauer. A journeyman can qualify as a master craftsman, set up a company, work as a trainer, train as a specialist teacher at a vocational school, qualify as a business administrator or work as a master craftsman. Master craftsmen can study at a german university and are in demand worldwide…." in other words: young adults not only have their future in their hands, but in the case of a skilled trade they also have a fairly free choice these days.

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