Apprentices at work symbolising vocational training and professional work

© Robert Kneschke –

Today, the Federal Cabinet adopted the key points underpinning a federal programme to safeguard vocational training places. In doing so, the Cabinet is honouring a commitment made as part of the stimulus package. For 2020 and 2021, the Federal Government is making up to €500 million available to support companies offering vocational training and training institutions for healthcare and social professions, and for their apprentices.

Said Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek: “We must not allow the coronavirus pandemic to turn into a crisis on the market for vocational training places. After all, the trainees of today will be the skilled workers of tomorrow. Before the crisis, we were urgently looking for skilled labour and once the crisis is over, we will again need every single worker. The federal programme “Safeguard vocational training places” is being launched by the Federal Government to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to invest in vocational training. This will also safeguard companies’ future prospects. At this time especially, we must give young people an opportunity to begin vocational training and to successfully complete it. We want to give them the reliable career prospects they deserve.”

Said Federal Minister Altmaier: “Unless we support companies as they train young people, we will soon have a lack of skilled labour. Without skilled professionals, the powerhouse that are our SMEs will not function properly. This is why we are investing €500 million to support the vocational training market and to help young, motivated people to lay the foundations for their independent future – despite the coronavirus pandemic. Once they have completed their vocational training, these young people will contribute to our economic growth and prosperity in Germany. There is no safer or more profitable investment for the Federal Government.”

Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil said: “Young people need prospects. Good-quality vocational training delivers this. Dual vocational training is a hallmark of our country and our ticket into a future in which our economy continues to be successful. This is why we need to keep it running, especially in times that are difficult. It is important to me that, in line with the usual pattern, young people will also be able to begin or finish vocational training in 2020. To make this possible, we want to introduce the vocational-training premium. The message to business is clear: provide vocational training! The trainees of today will be the skilled workers of tomorrow.”


The package of measures is aimed at SMEs employing up to 249 employees, and that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. These companies are to receive support for the training year of 2020/21, so that they will be able to uphold their apprenticeship programmes. This will ensure that young people can continue their training and bring it to success.

An overview of the individual measures:

Vocational training premium (continue existing training): SMEs that offer vocational training and which do not reduce their training activities compared to the three preceding years are to receive a vocational-training premium. For each vocational training agreement with an apprentice that is concluded for the vocational training year of 2020/21, they are to receive a one-off premium of €2,000 (payable after the probationary period).

Vocational-training premium (increase vocational training activities): SMEs that offer vocational training and which increase their training activities compared to the three preceding years are to receive a one-off premium of €3,000 for each additional vocational training agreement with an apprentice that is concluded for the vocational training year of 2020/21 (payable after the probationary period).

Avoid short-term work: SMEs that continue their vocational training activities despite experiencing a significant reduction in labour (at least 50%), are to receive 75% of the gross training allowance for each month for which this is the case.

Vocational training on demand and in cooperation with others: When SMEs are temporarily unable to continue to provide the training, other SMEs, external vocational-training institutes or other established providers of vocational training services may take over for a limited period of time and are to receive financial support for this. This is to apply only if the operations of the SME originally providing the training have been shut down completely due to the pandemic, or if the restrictions imposed are so grave that they significantly impede the continuation of the company’s operations.

Transition premium: SMEs that take over apprentices of SMEs that have had to file for insolvency due to the pandemic and let them complete their training are to receive a premium of €3,000 per apprentice.

This is to be the case for SMEs that offer vocational training for an occupation requiring formal training, or for integrated practical training for occupations in healthcare and social services, which are governed by federal or Länder regulations. There is no premium work placements/internships. There is only one premium per apprenticeship.

For further information, please see:

Information on the federal programme: “Safeguard vocational training”:ätze-sichern