According to a study, young people with a secondary school diploma are finding it increasingly difficult to get an apprenticeship. At the same time, the proportion of high school graduates who started an apprenticeship has increased in recent years.

High school graduates are increasingly striving for apprenticeships, while the search for them is becoming increasingly difficult for secondary school students. This is the result of a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation and published on Tuesday.

Between 2011 and 2021, the proportion of young people who started an apprenticeship with a secondary school diploma fell by a fifth. For young people without a school-leaving certificate, the already difficult situation has recently worsened: According to the study, the transition rate was 30 percent in 2021. In the past 15 years, it had fluctuated around 35 percent. The proportion of high school graduates who decided to do an apprenticeship, on the other hand, rose from 35 percent in 2011 to 47.4 percent in 2021. Before the corona pandemic in 2019, the proportion was even slightly higher (48.5 percent ).

Furthermore, the group of young people who neither go to school nor do an apprenticeship nor pursue a profession has increased significantly in recent years. The number of 15- to 24-year-olds to whom this applies increased significantly between 2019 and 2021 from 492,000 to around 630,000.

The education expert and study author Dieter Dohmen described the developments in this area as “dramatic”. “Far too many young people get nothing on the training market or drop out of the system altogether. We have to significantly increase the ability of the training system to integrate again,” explained the director of the Research Institute for Educational and Social Economics, which prepared the study for the foundation.

According to estimates by the Bertelsmann Foundation, despite thousands of vacant training positions, it is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly for young people with a low level of schooling, to find a training position. Increasing qualification requirements and regional imbalances played a role here. The corona crisis also made it difficult for many young people to start their careers because there were no internships or other orientation offers. The situation is particularly difficult for these young people.

The Bertelsmann training expert Clemens Wieland therefore advocated a training guarantee. “We need a training guarantee that really gives every young person a training opportunity and that also includes individual guidance and support in order to achieve the qualification,” he explained. The draft law presented by the government for a training guarantee is insufficient and “clearly falls short”.

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Skilled workers are missing everywhere. So shouldn’t high school graduates think about an apprenticeship instead of going to university? The salary is decisive in this decision. In the end, academics are still ahead. However, a career as a master craftsman can certainly be compared to going to university.