Hamburg/Germany: Eleven percent fewer apprentices compared to the time before Corona

March 21, 2023

Fewer and fewer apprenticeship entrants from surrounding federal states

The training market in Hamburg has still not recovered from the severe slump during the Corona pandemic. This is shown by the school statistics now presented by Hamburg’s vocational schools. In total, around 17,370 young people started training in Hamburg in 2022, 2,030 fewer than before the Corona pandemic in 2019 (19,400). This corresponds to a decline of 10.5 per cent. The “classic” dual vocational training in a company is particularly affected: here, the number of beginners fell by 11.0 per cent (2019: 13,105, 2022: 11,666). One of the reasons is that compared to 2019, 1,077 fewer young people from other federal states have come to Hamburg for training. In contrast, the number of Hamburg pupils transferring to an apprenticeship actually increased slightly by + 4.6 per cent from 3,021 in 2019 to 3,161 in 2022.

Education Senator Ties Rabe: “It worries me greatly that the training market has not yet recovered from its dramatic slump during the Corona pandemic. Above all, there is a lack of new entrants from the other federal states. In contrast, Hamburg’s general education schools did a good job even during the Corona pandemic: the number of Hamburg students who made the transition to work after school actually increased slightly during the Corona period. This shows that our Hamburg transition system from school to training is stable and crisis-proof. Now it is essential to meet tomorrow’s demand for skilled workers through more vocational training. We need more training places – and at the same time a greater willingness of young people to start training.”

Significant decline in commercial occupations as well as in gastronomy and tourism

In 2022, a total of around 17,370 young people started vocational training in Hamburg; including 11,666 dual training programmes in companies and vocational schools, around 2,800 training programmes in healthcare and nursing professions and 2,904 purely school-based training programmes in vocational schools, for example in social pedagogical assistant training or in educator training (1,045). Compared to 19,400 training entrants in 2019 before the Corona pandemic, however, this is 2,030 fewer training entrants.

This is also due to the fact that dual vocational education and training suffered a considerable slump in individual areas as a result of the Corona pandemic and has not recovered since. Particularly affected are the commercial training occupations in services, goods trade, sales, hotel and tourism. The responsible vocational schools in Hamburg are recording an above-average decline of 16.6 per cent in the number of beginners in these training occupations in 2022 compared to 2019. For example, commercial clerks in purchasing, sales and trade recorded a decline of 19.3 per cent (2019: 870 beginners, 2022: 702 beginners) and tourism, hotel and catering occupations a minus of 18 per cent (2019: 919 beginners, 2022: 754 beginners). Also affected are office management assistants (-16.8 per cent), retail salespersons (-21.0 per cent) and wholesale and export salespersons (-30.0 per cent). Also significant is the 16.4 per cent decline in the group of transport and logistics occupations (except vehicle driving) (2019: 1,244, 2022: 1,040).

In contrast, the vocational schools report a significant increase in training numbers for medical assistants: 20 per cent more beginners started their training in medical practices in 2022 than in 2019 (2019: 507, 2019: 420). Another occupation with increases, also the top 1 dual training occupation, is IT specialist with 609 beginners in 2022 compared to 575 beginners in 2019.

Significantly fewer trainees from neighbouring federal states

It is striking that compared to 2019, 1,077 fewer apprenticeship entrants from neighbouring federal states have found their way onto Hamburg’s dual vocational training market, a decline of 18.5 per cent (2019: 5,812, 2022: 4,735). Whereas in 2019, for example, 1,707 apprenticeship entrants had obtained their school-leaving certificate in Lower Saxony, in 2022 this figure was only 1,274 (25.4 per cent decrease). In Schleswig-Holstein, there were 2,320 training entrants in 2019 and only 1,908 in 2022 (17.8 per cent decrease). The decline in the number of applicants from Hamburg was much smaller, at 3.6 per cent from 7,827 to 7,546.

Direct transfers of Hamburg pupils stable

The direct transitions of Hamburg’s pupils from school to vocational training are stable at a high level. This shows that vocational orientation at Hamburg’s schools and the offers of training preparation were also crisis-proof during the Corona period.

The number of Hamburg school leavers who started training directly in 2022 actually increased slightly by + 4.6 per cent compared to 2019, from 3,021 in 2019 to 3,161 in 2022. Specifically, in 2022, 1,798 school leavers entered training directly after grade 10 (2019: 1,859), 1,142 more entered training after one-year dual training preparation (2019: 995) and 221 entered training after one-year vocational qualification (2019:167).

Hamburg’s vocational schools also offer school-leavers from general education schools without a school-leaving certificate the opportunity to catch up on their school-leaving certificate within the framework of vocational training or other educational opportunities at vocational schools. In this way, about half of them obtain their school-leaving certificate in the second attempt, so that the rate of pupils without a school-leaving certificate (currently 6.3 per cent of a year group) is halved once again.

Social pedagogical assistance and nursing training chosen most often

The area of school-based vocational training is also down by 11.7 per cent compared to 2019 (beginners in 2019: 1,896, in 2022: 1,674). This is due to lower numbers of new entrants to training as a social pedagogical assistant (2019 to 2022: minus 16 per cent). However, part of this decline can also be attributed to a special effect resulting from the reform of vocational training in this field. With 958 new entrants, social pedagogical assistance is still around 60 per cent above the figure for 2016, i.e. before comprehensive measures to secure the need for skilled workers in social pedagogical occupations came into force, and thus occupies second place in the ranking of all training occupations. The training is organised entirely in the vocational schools, therefore the number of training places is not limited, but training places are provided for all interested persons who meet the entry requirements.

The top 1 training occupation in 2022 is nursing specialist with 1,308 beginners (source: Nursing Training Fund). The occupation, which was reorganised in 2020, offers a broad range of activities from the care of newborns to people in old age, in the general hospital, in the old people’s home, in outpatient care, in paediatric care and in psychiatry. The number of beginners fluctuates at a high level (2020: 1,428, 2021: 1,581). However, the high decrease of 17.3 percent compared to the previous year is also related to the occupational reform; compared to 2020, the decrease is only 8.4 percent.

Overview of the vocational schools in the school year 2022/23

47,823 students in total attend vocational schools under BSB jurisdiction in the 2022/23 school year (2021/22: 48,981, 2019/20:51,891), of which 45,241 attend the 30 state vocational schools (2021/22; 46,337, 2019/20: 49,305) and 2,582 attend 24 non-state schools (2021/22: 2,644, 2019/20: 2,586).

Compared to the school year 2019/20, the level before the Corona pandemic, the number of pupils in vocational schools decreased by 4,068 in 2022/23. The reason for this is the significant decline in dual vocational training due to the impact of the Corona pandemic on training activities, and associated with this alone 3,586 fewer pupils at the state vocational schools, the school-based place of learning in dual training.

At 78 per cent, the vast majority of pupils at state vocational schools are in vocational training, about 9 per cent attend a vocational preparation school, just under 5 per cent attend an educational programme in which they can obtain a higher school leaving certificate, and just under 8 per cent are in vocational further training. The 45,241 pupils at the state vocational schools are taught by 2,436 teachers (full-time positions).

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