Bridging the vocational training gap between Denmark and Germany

A vocational school project has laid the foundations for a more integrated Danish-German labour market in the Fehmarn Belt region.

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The VET Qualifications System allows vocational students to train and consider working across the Fehmarnbelt Region. © Svend Erik Jessen The VET Qualifications System allows vocational students to train and consider working across the Fehmarnbelt Region. © Svend Erik Jessen

" The project has contributed to a more flexible labour market, in which apprentices and young people with a vocational education have easier access to employment in Denmark and Germany. A labour market of this kind is good for business and creates more apprenticeships. Last but not least, the apprentices acquire the skills that will improves their chances in the global labour market. "

Svend Erik Jessen, Head of projects CELF

The VET Qualification System was a collaboration project between Danish and German vocational schools, and job centres. At least 87 students participated in education and training programmes, while 21 student completed work placements in both Denmark and Germany. Four long term jobs have been created as a result of the project.

To reach these impressive results, a joint comparative analysis of the vocational training programmes for masons, structural engineers, shop assistants, cooks and electricians was initially undertaken. This gave both sides a clear picture of training and education needs, allowing them to develop the necessary joint Danish-German training programmes and intercultural courses.

Worker mobility

Through various work and training exchanges, the project made it easier for tradespeople to have their skills recognised in both Denmark and Germany, increasing their employability. This has encouraged these workers to move between both countries and learn new languages. It has also stimulated European integration.

Students from Lübeck's Handwerkskammer (Chamber of Crafts) and IHK (Chamber of Commerce) spent up to two months of their apprenticeship in a work placement in Denmark, while their counterparts were offered the same opportunity in Germany. This unprecedented cooperation between the two countries saw the regions integrate more fully and encouraged employers to look beyond their own national borders when looking to recruit.

Moreover, the partners have signed a so-called “Declaration of Intent”, which serves the purpose of minimising access barriers between the Danish and German labour market. A new Interreg 5A project is due to begin and will aim at further integrating both labour markets.

Official recognition

A Joint Declaration of the Federal Minister of Education and Research the Federal Republic of Germany and the Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Denmark has been signed and sets out the general comparability of vocational qualifications between the two countries.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project extension of the “VET Qualification System” project is EUR 921 087 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 650 519 from the Operational Programme “Fehmarnbelt Region” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date

05/08/2015