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Fri, Oct 03, 2003 - Page 19 News List

German-Taiwanese dual vocational training project

By Wiebke Kurth

In Germany the dual vocational training system already has a history of more than 100 years. Much of Germany's economic success has been attributed to the capable labor force well trained by this system that closely links theoretical knowledge with practical training.

Many attempts have been made to transfer this highly successful system to other countries. Surely there are positive as well as negative examples for those attempts and even within Germany there are some critics of the vocational training system. This year the German Trade Office Taipei is supporting the Employment and Vocational Training Administration of the Council of Labor Affairs together with the Ministry of Education to promote German-style dual-track vocational training in Taiwan. Why did we decide to implement this system in Taiwan?

First there is demand in the labor market for qualified workers in Taiwan. Education in Taiwan is often very much focused on theoretical knowledge and less on practical training. Thus many enterprises complain about the difficulties in finding staff they really need. Often new employees have to be trained on the job for a considerable time and since job rotation is high, they sometimes leave the company shortly after they finally acquire the needed skills. This vocational training project is thus specifically targeted to overcome these problems.

Second we want to offer Taiwanese students another career path. People who do not have the means to go to university now have the opportunity to become successful at work.

For the pilot project four professions have been selected. Due to Taiwan's strength in the IT-sector we chose two IT professions; the Management Assistant for Industrial Business (Industriekaufmann) and the Management Assistant for Hotel and Hospitality (Hotelfachmann). Because aircraft maintenance mechanics is a very complex subject, the start of this project has been postponed. The training will take three years, every week two days will be taught in school and three days are practical training in enterprises. The EVTA subsidizes every traineeship with a total of NT$150.00. After the successful completion of the training the trainees will not only get a junior college degree issued by the Ministry of Education but also a certificate from the German Association of Industry and Commerce.

Even though time was very tight right from the beginning, we had some quite impressive results. Since we knew about the critical attitude towards this system in Germany we were surprised by the enthusiasm of many Taiwanese companies for this project. After a short promotion period 69 Taiwanese and 9 German invested companies were willing to join the project. They offered a total of 809 traineeships. This was much higher than our expectations. Our first target was a mere 500 traineeships!

Of course there will be many problems to be overcome in the beginning. Since the concept is new to Taiwan there are many questions from the participants. We try to enforce a good communication structure by setting up regional structures, we train the trainer in the companies how to manage this project and we teach key persons on the relevant issues of this project.

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