Vocational education and training

Actors, partnerships and instruments

At the Girls Vocational Training Institute in Accra, Ghana, girls are trained in electrical engineering.

The German government's international cooperation in the field of vocational education and training

Within the German government, it is not only the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) that is engaged in international cooperation in the field of vocational education and training but also, in particular, the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The German government's 2013 strategy paper "One-stop International Cooperation in Vocational Training" sets out the parameters for the ministries' common efforts in this field. The German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (GOVET) provides a contact point for parties from both Germany and abroad with an interest in German vocational education and training and international cooperation in that field.

GOVET also administers the "Round Table for International Cooperation in VET", which meets for discussions at State Secretary, departmental and working group levels. These bodies bring together representatives of the federal ministries, the individual states, civil society and business associations, allowing them to share information and discuss relevant topics.

The BMZ contributes its development policy experience to the Round Table and supports GOVET in the form of both financing and personnel.

Cooperation with the private sector

Training in a textile factory in Morocco

The private sector is an important partner in Germany’s development cooperation programme. Through the programme, the BMZ provides companies investing in developing and emerging countries with financial support and, if required, support in terms of development aspects. Many development partnerships with the private sector contribute to the upskilling of workers in the partner countries concerned by providing practically based vocational education and training.

Since 2011, the BMZ has been supporting a programme of vocational training partnerships with the German private sector. German chambers of trade and commerce join with German business associations and their associated vocational training centres and training providers to contribute their specific knowledge to development cooperation projects. In 2017, the BMZ provided support for 34 such partnerships and there are plans for more.

The district crafts and trades association of Steinfurt-Warendorf in Germany, for example, has entered into an education and training partnership with uMfolozi College in Richards Bay in South Africa. Experts from the association are advising the vocational college on modernising their courses and making them more practically relevant. In cooperation with local private businesses and two chambers of industry and commerce from the region of KwaZulu-Natal, the plan is to introduce dual training in the trades of bricklayer, carpenter and plumber for heating, air conditioning or sanitation.

Cooperation with civil society

Carpenter training at the Young Africa Skills Centre in Beira, Mozambique. All Young Africa branches are set up as independent non-governmental organisations.

Within German civil society, the churches and non-governmental organisations are the ones most closely involved in vocational education and training. In many partner countries, they have built up well-functioning training systems in close cooperation with local church institutions and NGOs. In 2016, the BMZ provided grants of nearly 20 million euros in support of these activities.

One example is the support provided for projects being conducted in India by Don Bosco Mondo. The Don Bosco Technical Institute in Delhi offers young people who have dropped out of school or are unemployed access to quality training in the technical sector. The focus is on computer-aided manufacturing and quality assurance. This equips young people with the skills needed on the local labour market and gives them a good chance of finding an attractive job and lifting themselves out of poverty.

Cooperation with multilateral organisations

Trainee in Indonesia

Germany's development policy in the field of vocational education and training operates within the framework of various international agreements and commitments. Foremost amongst them is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to be able to contribute to international processes and negotiations, Germany is involved in the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The BMZ takes an active part in EU, OECD, G7 and G20 bodies concerned with the promotion of vocational training. Under Germany's presidency of the G20, the G20 Africa Partnership Conference was held in Berlin on 12 and 13 June 2017. Policymakers and representatives of, for example, the private sector, academia and international organisations meet to discuss such matters as the importance of practical vocational education in efforts to boost Africa's economy. The forum affirmed that promoting vocational education is a worthwhile investment that helps to build a sustainable economy and a stable society in Africa.

The BMZ also maintains contacts with, for example, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its vocational training centre UNESCO-UNEVOC, the European Commission, the European Training Foundation (ETF) and also other bilateral donors.

Build4Skills/Digital TVET Tender

The BMZ also works with the regional development banks. In 2016 and 2017, it signed declarations of intent with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on promoting vocational education and training. In order to implement these agreements, the BMZ has launched an initiative entitled "Build4Skills/Digital TVET Tender".

The aim is to integrate vocational training as a standard element of the tendering procedures of the development banks. When infrastructure projects are undertaken, they should offer young people opportunities to gain training of practical relevance. In this way, it is hoped that young people will gain better access to the labour market or even be enabled to start up their own businesses. This can make development financing doubly effective, as every euro invested is used for two purposes – for infrastructure development and for vocational education and training.

There are plans to establish a digital platform help tailor vocational education and training in partner countries to the needs of the labour market. The KfW and several pilot countries have joined the initiative.

Donor Committee for Dual Vocational Education and Training

Over recent years, international interest in dual vocational education and training has grown considerably. In order to make better use of the experience and knowledge gained in the field, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland formed the Donor Committee for Dual Vocational Education and Training (DC dVET) in 2016. The BMZ and the other members of the committee are pursuing a more effective division of labour and cooperation on the promotion of dual vocational education and training in development policy.

Partnership with the EU

Welding training in a refugee camp in the autonomous Region of Kurdistan-Iraq

The European Union (EU) and the BMZ regard improved vocational education and training for young people, particularly women and girls, as being of key importance for employment and participation in society. The EU and the German government are, for example, working together to help Syria's neighbours cope with the refugee crisis they are facing.

They are, for instance, jointly financing the programme "Resilience for Syrian Refugees, IDPs and Host Communities in Response to the Syrian and Iraqi Crises", known as Qudra (the Arab word for strength or capacity). It brings together German, French and Spanish development cooperation skills and knowledge with the aim of developing European solutions for the region. The Qudra team works with refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

More information


See also

External Links

BMZ glossary

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