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Skills Gap in Germany – Students snub vocational schools

Forget the strong euro or competition from Asia. German industry’s main concern today isn’t selling its products but finding the people to make them. Germany

The country’s 200-year-old two-tier education system, credited for building one of the most productive workforces on the planet, is sputtering as young Germans increasingly shun vocational schools—the gateway to manufacturing careers—for universities.

The government struck an alarmist note about the trend on Friday in its biennial report on the state of the education system. New figures showed the number of high-school graduates opting for vocational training fell in 2013 for the sixth consecutive year.

“We have a problem,” said Education Minister Johanna Wanka. Boosting the attractiveness of vocational training, she said, had become an urgent necessity.

Many companies say they’re already finding it hard to fill vacancies that require the technical knowledge vocational schools deliver.

“In the past, people were queuing up for big companies like us,” says Clemens Boog, training manager at automotive supplier Continental Corp. in the prosperous southwestern region of Villingen. “Technical professions have become less interesting and people prefer managing or commercial jobs.”

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at German Students Snub Vocational Schools for Universities – WSJ.

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