The corona crisis could lead to a slump in the training market. The head of the Junge Union, Tilman Kuban, is demanding a “professional starter bonus”.
Dieter Mießen can count himself lucky. “The order books are full, our plans are unchanged,” says the commercial manager of the Berlin civil engineering company Frisch and Faust. For years this was a matter of course, but not anymore. “After the corona crisis, there will no longer be some companies,” says Mießen, “including training companies.” That is why Mießen now wants to take on trainees from companies in crisis. “Why shouldn’t a trained cook become a good civil engineer?”
It is quite possible that companies like the von Mießen company will soon be required to provide more training. The corona virus has driven the economy into recession, some companies are concerned about its existence – with serious consequences for the next generation. This does not only raise the question: can all trainees finish their training? But also: are there enough training places at the beginning of the new training year in August and September? And: will all trainees who finish their training this year also be taken on or find a job elsewhere? In any case, business and unions fear a real crash on the training market.
In order to prevent this, the federal and state governments want to decide on concrete measures with unions and employers’ organizations. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has announced a meeting of the “Alliance for Training and Further Education” at the end of May. He worries that because of the corona pandemic, a year will arise in which apprenticeships will break down across the board.
The first ideas are already on the table. For example, the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) is demanding a subsidy for companies that accept trainees from insolvent companies. This would give companies like Mießen an additional incentive to retrain the trainees concerned. “In view of the numbers, it is already clear how big the challenges will be in the coming training year,” says the deputy DGB chairwoman Elke Hannack.
Companies offer fewer jobs
Companies are already reluctant to hire new staff. According to Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek (CDU), the number of apprenticeships offered in April decreased by eight percent compared to the same month in the previous year. The Central Association of German Crafts (ZDH) therefore demands a general grant for training companies. The concept: the state pays a one-off payment of 75 percent of a trainee salary for three months for each new contract. Almost half of the craft businesses want to hire at least as many trainees in the coming training year as before. One in four companies, however, wants to reduce its job offer, as a survey showed.
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Johannes Vogel, the FDP Group’s labor market policy spokesman, suggests that the state should pay social security contributions for newly created apprenticeships by the end of the year or more. “That would be an effective incentive.” He warns: “If the corona crisis turns into an apprenticeship crisis, we as a society as a whole will suffer because the shortage of skilled workers of tomorrow will be created.” Tilman Kuban, the head of the Junge Union, is also in favor of the state Incentives create planned training positions: “There should be no obstacles, especially for smaller companies, that lead to the fact that apprentices are now no longer required.”
The Greens criticize that the government did not adequately monitor the situation of the trainees. “They just fell down in the back,” says Beate Walter-Rosenheimer, spokeswoman for training and further education for the Greens in the Bundestag. Your party has long been demanding a state training guarantee. “We want everyone who wants to do an apprenticeship to get a place,” says Walter-Rosenheimer. Because training is expensive, it would make sense for companies to be able to merge. Several hairdressing companies could train a trainee together, for example.
Higher short-time work allowance also required for trainees
JU boss Kuban also wants to focus on trainees who are already in employment. If this short-time allowance were paid, it should not be less than 60 percent. “Nobody can make a living from it.” It should be at least 80 percent, but ideally 100 percent. Companies still have to pay their trainees full remuneration for six weeks before they can apply for short-time work benefits. Kuban also says: “In order for apprentices to be able to finish their training even in the corona crisis, we have to make greater use of digital opportunities – for example in the commercial professions.”
This requires enough notebooks and tablets. And it must be ensured that lessons can also take place in the vocational schools, for example via video telephony in the home office. For this, the Junge Union is demanding a digital bonus for companies, as it already exists in Lower Saxony. “That would be a grant for training companies that promote home office activities or purchase video conferencing technology, telemedicine technology and the like.”
JU boss proposes “professional starter bonus”
Kuban also suggests a “career starter bonus” to help graduates of an apprenticeship or one Studying also a job Find. He says: “If new hires fall now, we will have a shortage of skilled workers and high unemployment among young people.” The “starter bonus” should support companies that are now creating jobs and hiring training or university graduates for at least three years or indefinitely. Kuban could imagine that the state should pay 50 percent of the new employee’s salary for three months.
Companies are also paying more and more for an apprentice. A training company must now expect net costs of just under 7,000 euros per trainee and year – almost twice as much as in 2007. What was hardly a problem in successful times could become a burden for companies in times of crisis like this.
Companies no longer reach students
But even without a corona crisis, the training market has increasingly stalled. In 2007, almost a quarter of all companies participated in the training, ten years later, not even one in five. In addition, the demand for jobs has decreased almost continuously over the past ten years. This is shown by the recently presented data report of the vocational training report. And anyway, business and school graduates seem to find it increasingly difficult to find each other. Because both the young people and the companies are increasingly unsuccessful in their search for the right partner.
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The corona crisis complicates the search, the companies say. “We can’t reach the students,” says Mießen von Frisch and Faust. Trade fairs are canceled, school operations are still limited. Mießen can see how much that means from the current number of applicants. There are a good third fewer applications on the desks of his employees, he estimates. “Now we have to compensate for this with even more effort.”
Corona crisis could still affect the craft
JU boss Kuban demands digital offers so that companies can continue to present themselves as employers. “If job fairs are not allowed to take place now, I can do myself well a digital platform imagine that the federal government sets up together with employers’ and craftsmen’s associations. ”That should also be fun:“ Bringing a house wall into a kind of video game and then evaluating it. Or that you drive a train digitally. ”
Even if his company is still doing well, Mießen is still thinking about the future. The corona crisis could still hit the construction industry in two or three years, the commercial manager at Frisch and Faust Tiefbau speculates. That is when the Senate lacks the money to invest in infrastructure. Mießen remains optimistic: “In the past few years we have always made it.”