During the pandemic, tens of thousands of workers left the hospitality industry to find new jobs. Now there is at least a small turnaround on the Berlin training market. "The biggest increases were in the training occupation of specialist for restaurants and event catering," writes the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in its 2022 training balance sheet.
All in all, 7708 new company contracts were signed in IHK occupations last year, which was 13 percent more than in 2021. The pandemic-related declines were thus made up for, and even more contracts were signed in the catering and hotel industry than before Corona.
The willingness of companies to provide training and possible conclusions have been the subject of debate in Berlin for years. Trade unions, the Left Party and parts of the SPD would like to impose a training levy on companies that do not train apprentices, thereby creating an incentive for more training. Chambers and associations reject this as a "bureaucratic monster" and instead call on policymakers to improve the quality of education and vocational guidance in schools.
Despite the pleasing IHK balance, Berlin "continues to lag behind all other federal states, both in terms of the training rate and the training company rate," said the deputy chairwoman of the DGB Berlin-Brandenburg, Nele Techen, when asked. "The training levy will help to distribute costs more fairly, attract more companies to offer their own training and ultimately also increase the quality of training," Techen is convinced.
In any case, more in-company training is indispensable, and this applies to both the supply and the demand side. According to an IHK survey, a third of training companies received no applications at all last year. The training levy would also hit these companies, said deputy chamber president Stefan Spieker on Wednesday. Spieker is managing director of the largest independent daycare provider in Germany, Fröbel, which cares for around 17,000 children in more than 200 facilities.
"The Berlin Senate must offer solutions in the new coalition agreement instead of continuing down the wrong path of the training levy," Spieker said. Currently, 11,200 applicants at the employment agency would face almost 13,000 vacancies. Stietzel was supported by company representatives during the presentation of the training balance sheet. Kerstin Ehrig-Wettstaedt, managing director of the IT and office supply company Ehrig, said that young people did not seem to be aware of the large number of apprenticeship occupations.
The upper secondary schools would rather encourage students to study than to train. For the first time, train manufacturer Stadler was unable to fill all its places in 2022, reported authorized signatory Andreas Kliebsch, and called for "courageous reforms for improved school quality with a strong vocational orientation."
For the upcoming coalition negotiations, the IHK makes five proposals: A joint Berlin-Brandenburg skilled labor strategy, the abandonment of the apprenticeship levy, an "education offensive along the entire education chain," comprehensive career orientation including coaching, and the "comprehensive fight against the shortage of teachers."
Inadequate career guidance at school was also a topic in the DGB report: 70 percent of those surveyed said that the offerings at school had hardly helped them in their career choice. Only just under one-third had used the careers advice provided by the employment agency. Overall, only twelve percent of trainees said that their training place had been arranged for them by the employment agency.
A good 83 percent of apprentices passed their final exams last year. This percentage is on a par with the level prior to Corona, which the IHK believes is evidence that the pandemic "has hardly affected the quality of training and exam preparation." "Good training conditions are unfortunately not a matter of course," the DGB, on the other hand, had summarized the results of its 2022 training report last November. "One in three trainees regularly works overtime, and only one in four is spared activities that do not serve the purpose of training."
After all, 72 percent of trainees were at least satisfied with their training last year. Apprentices from industry (mechatronics, electronics, mechanics and chemical professions) were the most positive. The least satisfied with their training were apprentices from de. The least satisfied were apprentices in the hotel and catering trade, retailing and cooks.
Photo by Kate Townsend