Premature dissolutions of apprenticeship contracts in the German dual system

Daniela Rohrbach-Schmidt
19. April 20 16 bei GESIS in Mannheim (Konferenzraum B2,8 rechts) 13:45 Uhr 

Abstract Since the 1990s, the share of prematurely dissolved contracts in the German dual system of vocational education and training (VET) fluctuates between 20% and 25%. Given the high costs associated with premature dissolutions for individuals and firms, it is important to understand what the determinants of premature dissolutions are. So far, the public and scientific discussion focuses on apprentices as “dropouts”, even though there are good reasons to widen this perspective and considering training firms and training occupations as relevant factors as well. Moreover, premature dissolutions must not necessarily be failures due to low (training) abilities /motivation of apprentices or firms but, beside others, can also represent revisions of apprentices’ educational choices or firms’ recruitment decisions. Our two studies try to make a contribution in these directions. The first study analyzes cohort data from the German census on VET from reporting years 2008 to 2011. The data set covers all contracts that firstly started in 2008 in 51 training occupations of the dual system (cohort of beginners) and thus comprises more than 330 000 contracts. Exploiting multilevel analyses these data suggest that occupation-typical training conditions in the firm, the firms’ training model prevalent in the given occupation and the attractiveness of the training occupation significantly affect contract dissolutions over and above individual characteristics. In a second and very recent study, we complement these analyses by verifying training firm effects with German firm-level data. Count data models of the number of premature dissolutions underpin the role of training firm effects, i.e. they show that the stability of apprenticeships in firms are positively linked to an investment-oriented training model, a direct recruitment strategy, a collective representation of interests in form of staff councils, and an employment structure that is characterized by highly qualified tasks. The presentation will amplify the data and the strategy of analyses used in these two studies, and will discuss some practical implications of these results.


Zur Person Dr. Daniela Rohrbach-Schmidt is researcher at the Research Data Centre of the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB-FDZ). Prior to her appointment at BIBB she was a research fellow at the Research Institute for Sociology (FIS) (today’s Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology), University of Cologne, where she earned her Ph D in Sociology with a cross-national comparative study on sectoral changes and income inequality. Her current research interests lie in the role of task-specific human capital for job changes and wages, educational and skill mismatch among German workers with foreign qualifications, and determinants of premature dissolutions of apprenticeship contracts.