Motivating companies to engage in dual VET

“Firms calculate costs and benefits for everything… but rarely for their apprenticeships.” 
With these words Professor Stefan C. Wolter (University of Bern) opened his presentation “The Economics of Apprenticeship Training” at a conference at the GIZ Representation in Brussels on 10 December 2019 organized by GIZ in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation. The conference launched the publication of lessons learned and recommendations from Professor Wolter’s research in international cost-benefit surveys and simulations, sponsored by Bertelsmann and JP Morgan Chase.

Francesa Fondi, Deputy Director of the GIZ Representation in Brussels, opened the conference and highlighted the importance of cooperation between government and businesses in VET. Clemens Wieland from the Bertelsmann Stiftung showed that data can be the key to unlock political action, especially in TVET. Professor Wolter presented in detail the economics which underlie apprenticeship training. 

A graphic recording of the event was carried out to help capture the event visually through words, images and colours. Accordingly, it reflects the 7 lessons learned through the first image in the gallery.

In a subsequent panel discussion, experiences and challenges in building up dual VET systems were discussed by 

  • Clara Bassols, Fundación Bertelsmann, Director, Barcelona
  • Brent Parton, New America, Deputy Director of the Center on Education & Skills, Washington
  • João Santos, EU Commission, Deputy Head of Unit, Apprenticeships and Adult Learning, Brussels
  • Prof. Stefan C. Wolter, University of Bern, Head of Research Centre for Economics of Education, Bern

Facilitated by Hanka Boldemann from the J.P. Morgan Global Philanthropy, the key question of the panel was: What are recommendations to better involve companies in TVET? 

In the ensuing discussion, data was shown to be a key element to render the benefits of training transparent to businesses and to society at large. Another key element discussed were intermediary bodies, such as associations, which may use this data in order to convince firms to train. Overall, there was consensus on the need to further conduct research in the field and put this research to practice for strengthening vocational education.

Tanja Lohmann, Head of the GIZ Competence Centre Education, TVET and Labour Markets, closed the conference by emphasizing the relevance of these lessons learnt for development cooperation and wished that the recommendations resonate with policy makers and the business community.

Overall the event showed the strength of cooperation among the different organizations, underlined the continuing relevance of dual VET and highlighted the importance of economics driving TVET engagement.