5: North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany – Local Training Pacts for Vocational Training

Local partners in NRW,69 including unions, employer umbrella organisations, chambers, ministries, the state employment office, and county and municipal representative organisations, agreed a ‘Training Consensus’ for vocational training in 2011. The aim was to offer a training contract to every school leaver with the necessary general skills looking for an apprenticeship.70

Partners work together to:

  • Provide training in a recognised qualification for those who do not find an apprenticeship;
  • Improve career guidance in schools;
  • Provide internships for pupils;
  • Offer competence assessments to school leavers;
  • Offer the possibility of acquiring university entrance qualifications in vocational schools.

The aim of the ‘Training Consensus’ is to use existing programmes more effectively – there is no additional financing for the pact. A regional consultancy agency, financed by the state, advises and monitors the pact. It is viewed as a good way to involve unions and employer representatives, and to ensure strong employer representation.


  • 69 North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in West Germany is the country’s most populous state and contains four of Germany’s largest cities – Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Essen.
  • 70 Evans, S. and Bosch, G. (2012) Apprenticeships in London: Boosting Skills in a City Economy with Comment on Lessons from Germany, OECD