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The basics no longer suffice

Marcel Marcel

the fast ebbing of time impels him to devote his life to recording it. [Fr. Lit.: Proust Remembrance of Things Past]

See : Time
 Pusch, 19, pushes the button of the CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) See numerical control.

CNC - Collaborative Networked Communication
 lathe lathe (lāth), machine tool for holding and turning metal, wood, plastic, or other material against a cutting tool to form a cylindrical product or part. It also drills, bores, polishes, grinds, makes threads, and performs other operations.  machine. Under the watchful watch·ful  
adj.
1. Closely observant or alert; vigilant: kept a watchful eye on the clock. See Synonyms at aware, careful.

2. Archaic Not sleeping; awake.
 eye of his teacher, the machine whirrs to life and the computer screen flashes up the programme that will ensure that the plastic plug is produced to the correct specifications.

Pusch is one of the lucky ones. He left school with only basic qualifications but has managed to get on to a training scheme with one of the biggest employers in Germany Germany (jûr`mənē), Ger. Deutschland, officially Federal Republic of Germany, republic (2005 est. pop. 82,431,000), 137,699 sq mi (356,733 sq km). . In two years' time, he will not only be a fully qualified automatic-lathe technician See PC technician and software technician. , he will also have a job with a net income of over £800 a month.

"It's my dream job," he says. "I love seeing how metal and electrical systems combine."

Pusch is one of 1,000 apprentices at Siemens in Berlin. As well as training lathe technicians, Siemens also runs schemes in mechatronical and electrical engineering electrical engineering: see engineering.
electrical engineering

Branch of engineering concerned with the practical applications of electricity in all its forms, including those of electronics.
, industrial mechanics, materials testing Articles on Materials testing include:
  • ASTM International
  • Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung
  • European Reference Materials
  • Nadcap
 and IT.

Competition for places on the three-and-a-half-year programme is stiff. The company takes on only 350 apprentices every year from over 5,000 applicants. Pusch is one of the few to get on to the scheme with only basic qualifications.

In England and Wales England and Wales are both constituent countries of the United Kingdom, that together share a single legal system: English law. Legislatively, England and Wales are treated as a single unit (see State (law)) for the conflict of laws. , the new vocational diplomas, with a strong emphasis on practical experience, need to avoid falling into the same trap as the German system, which is so popular that it is increasingly only the more able who get on to an apprenticeship apprenticeship, system of learning a craft or trade from one who is engaged in it and of paying for the instruction by a given number of years of work. The practice was known in ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as in modern Europe and to some extent .

Tripartite system The Tripartite System, known colloquially as the grammar school system, was the structure by which Britain's secondary education was organised in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between the 1944 Butler Education Act and 1976.

This is becoming a real problem in Germany, where the tripartite TRIPARTITE. Consisting of three parts, as a deed tripartite, between A of the first part, B of the second part, and C of the third part.  school system divides children at the age of 10. Pupils usually go to either a grammar school, where they sit the Abitur, the equivalent of A-levels, or one of two secondary schools. Comprehensive schools combining the three systems are rare. Those who attend Realschule study for the "middle" leaving certificate The Leaving Certificate (Irish: Ardteistiméireacht), commonly referred to as the Leaving Cert (Irish: Ardteist) is the final course in the Irish secondary school system and culminates with the Leaving Certificate Examination. , akin to GCSEs, while those who attend high school - Hauptschule - can get only a basic leaving certificate. Only those with Abitur or a vocational diploma DIPLOMA. An instrument of writing, executed by, a corporation or society, certifying that a certain person therein named is entitled to a certain distinction therein mentioned.
     2.
 can go to university.

The so-called dual system of vocational training was devised to provide some sort of equality of opportunity to young people who leave school with basic or no qualifications. Employers guarantee to provide apprentices with three years of training towards a nationally recognised vocational diploma. Apprentices spend three to four days a week in workplace-based training and the rest of the time at a further education college, or Berufschule. They receive a small salary - typically £300-£450 a month.

Although the system is expensive - it costs employers around €18,000 (£12,000) to train one person, over 200,000 companies offer apprenticeships in around 350 different careers to over 800,000 trainees. In all, the German economy spends €27.68bn on the dual vocational system.

The problem is that although 60% of 16-to 20-year-olds go through the dual system, most trainees have either the middle certificate or the Abitur

Apprenticeships are widely seen as a good alternative to a degree. Karoline Krieger, 20, who is a trainee mechanical systems engineer, feels she is getting more out of her training than she would have got through higher education higher education

Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art.
. "Universities are all so overcrowded o·ver·crowd  
v. o·ver·crowd·ed, o·ver·crowd·ing, o·ver·crowds

v.tr.
To cause to be excessively crowded: a system of consolidation that only overcrowded the classrooms.
, you cannot speak to the professors. Here you can speak to the teachers easily," she says.

They are also a popular way of preparing for university. Nikolas Burchert, 21, is in the second year of his roofing training in north-west Berlin. He has the equivalent of A-levels but decided to do an apprenticeship instead. "Originally I was going to study geography, but I couldn't get into university, so I decided to become a roofer. I'm really enjoying it, though I may go on to university afterwards af·ter·ward   also af·ter·wards
adv.
At a later time; subsequently.


afterwards or afterward
Adverb

later [Old English æfterweard]

Adv. 1.
."

According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 the German education and research ministry, employers are demanding much higher qualifications from school leavers as jobs are becoming more technical. About 60% of all training schemes are in sales and industrial professions, such as electrical engineering, sales and printing. Increasingly, they require trainees to have at least the middle certificate, if not the Abitur

Martin Drews, 20, another trainee mechanical systems engineer, says this is not necessary.

"The standard generally is set far too high. Employers ask for the Abitur even though it is not necessary. So many of my friends took it just to be able to get on a training scheme."

At the other end of the scale, however, there are fewer apprenticeships in bakeries, building and carpentry carpentry, trade concerned with constructing wood buildings, the wooden portions of buildings, or the temporary timberwork used during the construction of buildings.  - careers that are more open to those with basic skills.

"The numbers of jobs in manual trades is falling," says Klaus Giesert, the headteacher at Knobelsdorff FE college.

According to industry representatives, the fault also lies with the poor quality of basic secondary schooling. Sybille von Obernitz, who leads on vocational training at the German chamber of commerce for trade and industry, says: "The standard of education many people leave school with these days is not very good."

Stephan Schwarz, president of the Berlin chamber of commerce representing craft and manual trades, agrees. "Many school leavers are not well prepared for apprenticeships. Applications are full of mistakes and a quarter of young people are not good enough at reading, writing and maths to get an apprenticeship."

As a result, school leavers with basic or no qualifications are finding it increasingly difficult to get on to any training schemes at all.

Those who do get a place can experience prejudice. Lisa Klose, 16, failed her middle certificate and is training to be a builder. She initially started an apprenticeship as a baker, but left very quickly. "I fled the bakery," she says, "when my boss told me I would have to work much harder and do longer hours than all the others because I failed my exams." Building suits her much better, but even here, she knows she's got her work cut out. "I must be better than the others - there aren't that many jobs for women in building," she says.

Even those with the equivalent of GCSEs say it is hard to get a place. Alicia Engels, 18, is training to become a mechatronical engineer at Siemens. She has a middle certificate. "I applied to loads of companies before I got this one," she says.

Practical learning

For those who do not get on to the dual system, it is still possible to get some form of training. Many colleges offer catch-up courses for those with insufficient or no qualifications. Knobelsdorff specialises in construction trades and has 2,800 pupils. As well as providing the theoretical component of vocational qualifications, it also teaches those with basic qualifications or none at all. For those who have not got on to an employer-based scheme, 16-year-olds enter preparation courses to maximise their chances of getting an apprenticeship. As many of these young people have had problems at school, the emphasis is on practical learning approaches. "The children are taken seriously for the first time," says Giesert.

But without work experience, young people do not receive the full vocational qualification and do not find jobs very easily. Knobelsdorff is unusual in that it has a number of contracts with public-sector organisations and so can provide pupils with experience on its building sites.

Giesert himself left school with only a basic school certificate. He worked his way up the vocational route, doing a series of catch-up qualifications until he was able to attend a technical university. Theoretically anyone without qualifications could do the same thing, but it is very time-consuming (it took Giesert five years), so requires a lot of commitment.

Martin Kosarl, 17, is a more typical example. He has only a basic certificate and failed to get an apprenticeship. Now he is trying to get some basic skills as well as improving his school certificate. When asked what he wants to do, he seems at a total loss. "It is really difficult to get a job," he says bleakly bleak 1  
adj. bleak·er, bleak·est
1.
a. Gloomy and somber: "Life in the Aran Islands has always been bleak and difficult" John Millington Synge.
.

As vocational training becomes more and more prestigious, the opportunities for those with basic skills like Kosarl look grim. The German vocational system has become a victim of its own success.
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Author:guardian.co.uk
Publication:guardian.co.uk
Date:Dec 18, 2007
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