Students become valued workers - The Bavarian dual education system

Short summary

In the state of Bavaria, including Munich, 28,000 apprenticeships have been created in recent years, compared to 26,000 applications. Approximately 2,000 apprenticeships remain available throughout the year.

The dual system ensures that vocational education students gain the necessary experience before they enter the business world. Due to this experience, the students become valued workers, even before they graduate from school.  Students are encouraged to finish their school because they know that their education is very relevant and results in a very favourable labour-market perspectives for the long term.

In Munich, the dual system contributes to a relatively low youth unemployment (3.3%). Compared with the European Union (23.4%),Greece (62.9%) and the Netherlands (11.5%). The average youth unemployment rate in Germany is 7,7%.

Context of good practice

At the age of 9, students start learning in the pre-school system, which has three variations: mittelschule; realschule and gymnasium.

At the Mittelschule, students receive both theoretical and practical training (internships) when they are 15 years and older. Government and companies cooperate in the design and implementation of the internships. This dual education system is used by all 16 German states (lander). 

Companies that create apprenticeships offer contracts to students. The companies are responsible for the student during their presence at the premises of the company. Typically, students spend word 3 or 4 days a week at the company. The Chambers of Commerce and professional guilds, and care deeply involved in the design of the apprenticeships to ensure that the students gain the necessary competences to graduate from school.

Students attend regular classes at their school during 1 or 2 days per week.  The school teaches general subjects like German language, politics, sports and religion. The curriculum is designed by the ministries of education of the states and are based on the national curriculum.

Advantages of the dual education system:

  • public / private cooperation
  • the apprenticeships meet the requirements of the business world
  • students get a salary of € 700 to € 1.000 per month
  • students develop social skills
  • students become loyal to the companies that offer apprenticeships
  • students gain the necessary experience to become valuable employees directly after graduation

 Disadvantages of the dual system:

  • new professions are seldom thought during apprenticeships
  • the number of apprenticeships depend on the economic outlook
  • high costs for the businesses
  • low percentage of students will attend higher education after graduation. 

Main characteristics of the challenge, description of the target group

München is one of the major economic and cultural centers of Germany. With over 1 million inhabitants, Munich is the third largest city in Germany.

The dual system is very successful, however, the system still has some challenges:

The number of girls that choose technical training within the dual system is relatively low and most students have lower social backgrounds. These challenges will be addressed campaigns initiated by the Chamber of Commerce and the Guilds. For example, a new website has been launched that includes interactive test, meant to inform young people about the dual education system.

The main target Group are young people from 9 to 19 years old.

To ensure that the dual system offers education that meets the requirements of the business world and the Ministry of education at national level, the Guilds and the Chambers of Commerce work closely together with the city of Munich. Each of the parties involved are accountable for their role within the program.   

Success factors and processes

In practice, the state has delegated the management of the 80 schools in Munich to the city council. The city of Munich can therefore play an active role in the coordination between the schools, the guilds, the chambers of commerce and the national government.

This delegation of the management has significantly contributed to the effectiveness of the program.


All program costs, including the salaries and the mentoring of the students, are fully paid by the companies that offer apprenticeships. Although the program has resulted in significant costs for the companies involved, the program is regarded to be beneficial to the Bavarian business community.


Impact of measures taken

In the state of Bavaria, including Munich, 28,000 apprenticeships have been created, sufficient to fulfill the demand for apprenticeships.

Another main advantage of the dual education system is that the students gain the required competences and experience before they enter the business world. The dual education system is seamlessly integrated with the business world.

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Target group of good practice:

Policy makers



Related links:

URBACT website


Wolfgang Mayer-Großkurth


Project coordinator European Education projects in the Cíty of Munich

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