The song about the shortage of skilled workers is played with constant regularity every six months, in order to then want to turn things around with some alliances, master plans or recruitment agreements. But there has been no trend reversal so far.

As the baby boomer generation leaves the labor market, the situation will continue to deteriorate significantly over the next few years. In the background of these already bleak prospects, however, the federal government is in the process of delivering its final knockout to the labor market!

When it comes to future specialists, i.e. trainees, students or vocational school students, everything is often sewn on edge. Training salary or BAföG are usually just enough to make ends meet. For example, almost half of BAföG recipients live below the poverty line.

Now save articles for later in “Pocket”.

For a long time, this was more or less grudgingly accepted. “Apprenticeship years are not master’s years” – everyone knows it. But with Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the subsequent wave of inflation, something has fundamentally changed.

Nicole Gohlke is deputy chairwoman and education policy spokeswoman for the Left parliamentary group in the Bundestag

Anyone who was able to get by in any way before will no longer be able to do so in the future. There is a threat of a dropout rate of unknown proportions in vocational training and in the university sector. It looks even worse for future school leavers. Anyone who finds an apprenticeship in their parents’ place of residence can count themselves lucky.

Moving for an apprenticeship and also paying rent from the apprenticeship salary and defraying all other costs will only be able to be afforded if you get a few hundred euros extra pocket money from your parents.

Unfortunately, the federal government’s watering can relief packages do little to help here. Even with the “200 billion double boom” it is not yet certain how exactly the federal government will implement it. So that we don’t completely take away the prospects of a whole generation of school leavers, it is above all necessary for them to be able to plan in the long term. Hardly anything should be as important in the current situation as to signal these young people with targeted measures of unlimited support.

But the federal government does not seem to be able to assess this threatening scenario more precisely. When I asked whether the federal government was expecting an increased dropout rate for vocational training in the coming months, I was told that no forecast would be made. We can’t afford such a blind flight at this time!

It’s not just the growing shortage of skilled workers that worries me. I am primarily concerned with the many young people who will not be able to start the vocational training of their choice, but instead might prefer to choose a temporary job next to their parents’ home, where more money can be earned more quickly. In Germany, 1.5 million young people between the ages of 25 and 35 already have no professional qualifications.

The constant talk about the dramatic shortage of skilled workers in Germany turns into a farce if the federal government does not immediately address this looming problem. The answer here cannot be relief by watering can – according to the motto “we’ll find the right ones”. This is where the relevant ministries have to step in and ensure future-proof long-term perspectives for trainees, vocational school students and students.

There are enough suggestions: Companies must be supported in offering training places. Conversely, this also means that companies that do not provide training pay a training contribution to relieve those who make training places possible.

In addition, trainees, students and pupils in full-time school education need an income that is sufficient to live independently of their parents. Especially in times of high inflation, the legislature must not rest on its laurels. Minimum training allowance or BAföG must cover the actual cost of living – today, in a month and even in a year.

This could be achieved, for example, with an inflation-linked adjustment of the BAföG and the minimum training allowance or with regionally graded housing cost subsidies. In addition, an exemption from any school fees and tuition fees must be considered. Most members of the federal government are probably already aware that the federal states need long-term support from the federal government to finance education and to create sufficient living space for young people.

However, this must finally result in the lifting of the ban on cooperation. Access to training and higher education for people from other countries of origin must also be made easier and the recognition of qualifications must be simplified and accelerated as a matter of urgency. The to-do list is long. We cannot afford to have weak leadership right now. It now takes more than “double booms” and a watering can.