In the apprenticeship training system, the apprentice is in a training relationship with his or her training company and a student at a part-time vocational school at the same time.
Requirement: The training in an apprenticeship occupation is open to all young people who have completed their nine years of compulsory schooling. No specific school qualification is required for access to an apprenticeship.
Duration: 2-4 years.
At the end of the training, the young person takes the Apprenticeship Examination in front of professional experts.
Possibility to undertake integrated training and partial qualification.
Vocational Higher Education Entrance Examination (Berufsreifeprüfung) can be taken parallel to apprenticeship Training
An apprenticeship offers young people (mostly aged between 15 and 19 years) with a solid vocational training in one of around 200 training professions. The apprenticeship is the right choice for all those who prefer to follow a practically-based programme of training in a workplace (involving working in a company setting). Trainees spend around 20 - 25% of their apprenticeship in the technical or vocational school, where they acquire the theoretical knowledge required in their profession.
Admission to an apprenticeship takes place once a young person has completed 9 years of compulsory education. Successful completion of the Middle School, Polytechnic School of the ninth year at a different type of school is not compulsory, but will significantly increase the chances of obtaining an apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship is also an attractive option for young people who leave or complete their education at medium level or upper level schools and who wish to enter employment. In those cases, the duration of the apprenticeship may be shortened (generally by one year; in the case of training professions in one's own vocational area, possibly by longer than one year).
Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule)
During the course of their training in a training profession, the Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule) provides young people with teaching that complements and is relevant to their training and that provides them with the underpinning theoretical knowledge they require. This will assist and expand upon the training that the young people receive in the workplace and received during their general education. Young people will attend the Technical or Vocational College for the number of course years that corresponds to the duration of their apprenticeship contract. Depending on the training profession, the duration of the apprenticeship will be from two to four years. In general, an apprenticeship will last for three years.
Young people do not have a free choice as to which Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule) they are required to attend. The institution attended will be determined according to the training profession concerned and by the location of the company in which the training is being provided. The company providing the training is responsible for registering its apprentices at the Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule).
Modes of delivery
The teaching provided by the Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule) can be delivered in the following ways: for a whole year, involving attendance on a minimum of one full day or two half days per week; on a course-specific basis, in other words for a continuous period of at least eight weeks, or on a seasonal basis, in other words, in a block that is held at a specific time of the year. The variety of modes in which teaching is delivered is determined on the basis of agreements between the business sector and the management of the school and takes into account the needs of individual sectors or regions. One of the essential factors underpinning the success of the Dual System is the cooperative collaboration between all parties and locations involved in the training. Nowadays, a programme of vocational training requires a closely interrelated combination of theory (provided by the Part-time Vocational School) and practical experience.
200 recognised training professions
At the moment, there are around 200 recognised training professions, encompassing the following vocational areas:
Construction – Office, Administration and Organisation – Chemical Industry – Printing, Photography, Graphics, Paper Processing – Electrical Engineering, Electronics – Gastronomy – Health and Beauty – Commerce – Timber, Glass, Plastic, Clay – Information and Communication Technologies – Foodstuffs, Drinks and Tobacco – Metal technology and Mechanical Engineering – Musical Instrument Making – Textiles, Fashion, Leather – Animals and Plants – Transportation and Warehousing.
If a trainee attending the Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule) has achieved the teaching objective of the final year at the school, the Apprenticeship Examination will only consist of the practical component. Individuals, who, upon completing their Apprenticeship Examination, wish to gain admission to a course of study at a university, will be able to do so by completing the Higher Education Entrance Examination. That examination consists of four parts (German, Mathematics, a Modern Foreign Language and the specialist area concerned).
In the context of an initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to provide a facility for young people to pursue an apprenticeship and obtain a high school diploma, apprentices have an opportunity to attend preparatory courses leading to the Higher Education Entrance Examination. Three examination components can be taken during the period of the apprenticeship. The final examination then takes place once the young person is 19 years of age. The courses that enable trainees to obtain a high school diploma are provided free of charge.
Integrated technical and vocational training and partial qualification
Integrated vocational training is also provided, alongside extended apprenticeships (the duration of the extension being one and no more than two years) and vocational training that provides a partial qualification.
The ability to offer a partial qualification opens up the possibility to provide a tailor-made programme of vocational training that specifically addresses the abilities and needs of the trainee. The training will be delivered on company premises, in special independent training institutions and in technical or vocational schools (obligation or right to attend a technical or vocational college).
The next step:
The following opportunities are examples of those available to young people who successfully complete their education at the Part-time Vocational School (Berufsschule) and their Apprenticeship:
- Immediate employment as a specialist worker in the training workplace or other workplace
- The Higher Education Entrance Examination can largely be completed during the apprenticeship (in line with the model "apprenticeship and Matura") Once a young person has passed the Higher Education Entrance Examination, he/she may attend a Post-secondary VET Course or take a course of study at a University of Applied Sciences, a University or a Teacher Training College.
- Attending further training courses or Upper Level Vocational Schools for Adults
- Attendance of a Master-Craftsperson, Foreperson and Construction Trades Course
- Taking an examination for the master craftsman's certificate or qualifying examination, followed by self-employment in a regulated trade
- Self-employment in an unregulated trade
Sources (in German)
Bildungswege in Österreich - Berufsbildende Pflichtschule (Education Pathways in Austria - Compulsory Vocational School)
Apprenticeship and vocational training
Further information can be found on the internet (in German)
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research – Vocational High School Diploma
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research - Higher Education Entrance Examination