VET and HRD research in European countries > Overview

Germany  [7]  Review of VET/HRD research

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Current VET/HRD research

Like VET as such, VET/HRD R&D enjoys a high status in Germany. However, its effectiveness and impact are difficult to assess separately. As a rule, VET policy does not wait for research findings and then starts acting. Policy is first and foremost driven by practical problems which need to be addressed in rather short time. Thus, government mostly applies an integrated approach of research, development, pilot projects, infrastructure building. 

Future VET/HRD research

In 2002, the BIBB has carried out a DELPHI survey with 800 VET experts from companies, vocational schools, Chambers, trades unions, universities, federal and state authorities. Experts were asked what themes should be addressed in future research. The priorities differed significantly according to groups: Companies: Early identification of skills needs; Schools: Improving the performance of VET schools (quality assurance, new offers); Chambers: Balancing supply and demand of/for dual training places; Unions: Target groups with special needs; Authorities: Modernisation of the qualifications system; Universities: No clear focus; All: High supply of training places for high skill qualifications. This list of priorities is still valid. 

The Ministry for Education and Research has launched a new research initiative. This initiative is expected to provide scientific findings which can inform a policy aiming at strengthening the attractiveness of the vocational track and at raising the opportunities for the integration of young people at the first and the second threshold (school to IVET; IVET to employment). The initiative shall be understood as a “learning system”, which is continuously adapting to political requirements. The focus is on research in the form of expert reports and empirical studies. The following themes are at the forefront of interest: 

  • Demographic development and its impact on VET (especially on providers, companies, students/apprentices/trainees)
  • Qualification needs study based on labour market forecasts (statistical analyses)
  • Analysis of training potentials of manpower leasing enterprises
  • Analyses of recruitment strategies/practices of enterprises in knowledge intensive sectors and occupational fields
  • Improvement of credit accumulation and transfer in IVET and CVET
  • Identification and analysis of indicators on the benefits and the impact of the advanced training promotion act (also as compared to other instruments)
  • Expert report on how to systematise the various measures, schemes and programmes catering for disadvantaged groups
  • Expert report on the promotion of intercultural competences of young people with a migration background.
The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG - German Research Foundation) has decided to establish a new priority programme (Schwerpunktprogramm SPP 1293) on “Development of competence models for assessing individual learning outcomes and for taking stock of education processes”. The programme shall last for six years. The SPP 1293 is dealing with the foundations of cognition psychology and subject related didactics, as well as with psychometric models and concrete techniques of measuring competences. For the SPP, competences are defined as context specific performance dispositions, which are related functionally to situations and demands in certain domains. Competences are acquired through experience and learning and may be influenced by external interventions. (
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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Germany (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO