By Evline Meshreky
A blog published by the World Economic Forum (Davos) attributed Germany’s success in football as well as economically to sustaining a culture of cooperation and common goals, and long-term policies to support those goals.
The article relates the young average age in the German football team, 26.31, as opposed to 28.92 in Argentina, to the apprenticeship model in the German economy.
While youth by itself is a poor forecaster of performance, yet it indicates Germany’s open attitude to younger players in order for them to gain experience and foster a close team mentality.
In Germany’s dual system, half of the students between the age of 16 and 18 divide their education between academic studies and vocational training. Students apply for training contracts that last between two and three years. Upon completion, students acquire skills that usually ensure a job for them. The rise of the German manufacturing sector as well as its low employment rate, 5.1% compared to the Euro area’s 11.6% is credited to this system.
In the apprenticeship model, there are 18,000 different types of apprenticeships offered, and the chambers of commerce constantly police the terms and conditions.
On the demand side, the increase in the skill base of apprenticeship candidates makes them more appealing to employers and gives prospective apprentices hands-on experiences in the industries that appeal to them.
The number of apprenticeship contracts however declined 4.3% from last year as German students started to choose higher education over vocational training. This poses a problem for the future of the model, as education minister Johanna Wanka pointed out. On the positive side, the country could benefit from the increase in the number of qualified graduates entering the workforce given that the market adjusts to such changes.