Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships is a multi-stakeholder initiative steered by the European Commission. The originator of the pledge is solely responsible for implementing the actions outlined in the pledge.

ZDH (German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses)

Organisation name:ZDH (German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses)
Type of organisation:Chambers of Commerce, industry and crafts
Organisation operations:Other sector(s)
* Others Sector: Representative organisation
Start date:01/01/2015
Contact person(s):

Mr Holger Schwannecke, Secretary General

Ms. Karin Rögge, managing director, ZDH-representation to the EU, European affairs division

Ms. Gertrud Hirtreiter, Head of Unit, Vocational Education and Training, European affairs division
Description of the Pledge:

The German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses (Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks ZDH)

  • Represents the interests of more than 1 million skilled crafts companies in Germany with more than 5 million employees, about 420.000 apprentices and an annual turnover of more than 500 billion euro.
  • At European level, ZDH is also a member of UEAPME (European Union of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) who initiates and coordinates various activities of their own at European level. ZDH has its own European office in Brussels.
  • ZDH and its member organisations maintain a network of partnerships with comparable organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and in developing countries. In this framework "Helping people to help themselves" is being practiced, enabling partners, to represent the interests of small and medium sized Skilled Craft companies.
  • ZDH is involved in the "Alliance for Initial and Further Training 2015-2018" in Germany, which has the following main objectives:
    • Preparing young people better for their occupation and for the world of work,
    • giving them the opportunity of an apprenticeship with a primary in-company training,
    • enhancing the attractiveness and quality of vocational training and further training options.

The alliance wants to support apprenticeships exchanges as well as a thorough and balanced orientation for studies and professions in all school types. Especially small businesses will get the necessary support for in-company training of young people with a high need for support.

ZDH gives the following pledge in the context of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships:

1. Provide competent information on the Dual Education System:

ZDH will explain the German dual training system in Germany and at European level to interested associations, multipliers etc. from Europe and elsewhere in a competent and appropriate way. ZDH will also use the possibilities of being a member in bilateral working groups of the German Government with other Member States (e.g. Italy, Latvia, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia).

At European level ZDH will inform about the employer engagement in apprenticeship schemes taking into account the special role of Chambers as the competent bodies for vocational education and training, providing an important advisory and support function especially for SMEs. The objective is to make the possibilities of the German Dual Education system accessible to interested parties in order to help them establish work based training structures.


2. Improve image and visibility of skilled crafts and vocational training:

ZDH will inform about the skilled crafts and the possibilities of training and careers in this sector in the context of its image campaign with the resources at its disposal. ZDH will advertise the campaign to other European (SME)-organisations as an instrument to improve the image of apprenticeship. The objective is to increase the status of the vocational training in the skilled crafts sector, especially amongst young people. For an appropriate approach to this target group, digital communication measures will play a special role.

Pledged to enhance the image of apprenticeships
  • German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses (ZDH), German Confederation of Chambers of Skilled Crafts (DHKT), Chambers of skilled crafts, National confederations of skilled crafts, Guilds and Local Councils of Skilled Crafts
  • UEAPME (European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) and its member associations
Join the Alliance!

Do you feel inspired to join the Alliance? Complete the pledge application form and return it to empl-eafa@ec.europa.eu.

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