Apprenticeship Policies Coping with the Crisis: A Comparison of Austria with Germany and Switzerland

  • Lorenz LassniggEmail author
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 24)


The paper asks how the three countries have retained their low level of youth unemployment through the crisis. An institutional approach is taken, criticizing simplistic ideas on how collective skills systems manage the low level of youth unemployment. The analysis starts with Austria, and compares this experience to the other cases. Comparative statistics are used to describe the way of the three countries through the time period 2004 to 2012. In Austria a main component of managing the low level of youth unemployment is a very strong tradition of youth labour market policy (LMP); the apprenticeship system itself has also been supported quite strongly by LMP for decades. Thus, not the apprenticeship system itself, but rather the employment status of apprentices that has included them into social security and thus into LMP seems the main reason of retaining the low level of youth unemployment. The comparison takes three steps: First the features of the apprenticeship (or ‘dual’ or ‘trial’) systems are analysed, showing that Austrian Vocational education and training (VET) is much more diverse with apprenticeship homogenously situated at the lower end; second OECD LMP statistics show a higher intensity and more concentration on apprentices in Austria, pointing to different patterns for explanation; third labour market figures and policies indicate a more severe situation in Germany, which was quite successfully brought down after the crisis. Overall, apprenticeship appears quite diverse, as are the policy approaches, and it is certainly not an ‘easy fix’ for problems on the youth labour market.


Young People Industrial Relation Unemployment Insurance Social Partner Employment Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baldi, G., Brüeggemann-Borck, I., & Schlaak, T. (2014). The effect of the business cycle on apprenticeship training: Evidence from Germany. Journal of Labor Research, 35(4), 412–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell, D. N. F., & Blanchflower, D. G. (2011). Young people and the great recession. IZA-Discussion paper No. 5674. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  3. BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research). (2014). International cooperation. Action plan of the federal ministry of education and research. Berlin: BMBF Accessed 02 Dec 2015.Google Scholar
  4. Busemeyer, M. R., & Iversen, T. (2011). Collective skill systems, wage bargaining, and labor market stratification. In M. R. Busemeyer & C. Trampusch (Eds.), The comparative political economy of collective skill systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Busemeyer, M. R., & Trampusch, C. (Eds.). (2011). The comparative political economy of collective skill systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. CEDEFOP. (2014). European apprenticeship conference: Steering partnerships for growth. 7-8 May 2014, Thessaloniki, Greece. Accessed 13 Apr 2015.
  7. ECORYS, IES, & IRS. (2013). The effectiveness and cost-benefits of apprenticeships: Results of the quantitative analysis. Report to the European Union. Accessed 13 Apr 2015.
  8. Maurer, M., & Gonon, P. (Eds.). (2014). The challenges of policy transfer in vocational skills development. Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  9. Mühlemann, S., Wolter, S.C., & Wüest, A. (2009). Apprenticeship training and the business cycle. IZA-Discussion Paper No. 4460. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  10. Müller, B., & Schweri, J. (2006). Die Entwicklung der betrieblichen Ausbildungsbereitschaft. Eine Längsschnittuntersuchung zur dualen Berufsbildung in der Schweiz. SIBP-Schriftenreihe Nr. 31. Zollikofen: Schweizerisches Institut für Berufspädagogik (SIBP). Accessed 02 Dec 2015.
  11. OECD. (2012a). OECD note on ‘quality apprenticeships’ for the G20 task force on employment. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  12. OECD. (2012b). The challenge of promoting youth employment in the G20 countries. Accessed 20 Apr 2015.
  13. Ryan, P. (2001). The school-to-work transition: A cross-national perspective. Journal of Economic Literature, 39(1), 34–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Steedman, H. (2012). Overview of apprenticeship systems and issues. ILO contribution to the G20 Task Force on Employment. Geneva: International Labour Office, Skills and Employability Department–ILO.Google Scholar
  15. Stöger, K., & Winter-Ebmer, R. (2001). Lehrlingsausbildung in Österreich: welche Betriebe bilden Lehrlinge aus? Arbeitspapier Nr. 0110. Linz: Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre Universität Linz. Accessed 14 Apr 2015.
  16. Troltsch, K., & Walden, G. (2010). Beschäftigungsentwicklung und Dynamik des betrieblichen Ausbildungsangebotes. Eine Analyse für den Zeitraum 1999 bis 2008. Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung, 43(2), 107–124.Google Scholar
  17. Wieland, C. (2013). A model, not a blueprint: Transferring the dual system. Presentation, Cedefop workshop apprenticeship: Governance modes and financing approaches, Thessaloniki, 20–21 May.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS)ViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations