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1 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich) Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich) Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich) Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 RC 30 Sociology of Work – session 5: Collaborative VET funded by

2 2 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Overview 1.Socioeconomic drivers for the increase of learning alliances 2.Core theses and leading questions 3.Basic types of learning alliances 4.Theoretical development and implications

3 3 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 The German Dual System of Vocational Training Dual training: two partners share the responsibility for vocational education and training – regional vocational school and employing company. The company concludes a training contract with the trainee, assumes the responsibility for teaching the required profiles and organizes learning on three or four days per week on the basis of a training plan being part of the training contract. Training in the company is based on training regulations which the Federal Government has issued for each training occupation. Outstanding characteristic: Training is mainly provided at the workplace as in- company training familiarizes the trainees with the technological and organisational aspects of the current work processes in companies. Moreover, trainees attend part-time vocational school on one or two days per week, where they are mainly taught theoretical and practical knowledge related to their occupation as well as other subjects like economic and social studies. Currently there exist 343 recognized training occupations; about 75% of all employees in Germany do have a certified vocational education. Source: FMER 2007, p. 7-13

4 4 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Three major trends: Permanent and increasingly short-term cycles of business reorganisation (outsourcing, offshoring etc.) to the point of the complete restructuring of enterprises Involving the creation of start-ups and spin-offs and an increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up the majority of German companies anyway Large-scale lack of skilled labour as a trend that is aggravated by the demographic change. This does not only affect the recruitment of already trained skilled personnel but also that of school leavers for an initial vocational training in industry Starting point: Which consequences do the changes have for the methods of securing manpower and how do companies respond to procure labour in a quantitatively and qualitatively sufficient way? Socioeconomic drivers for the increase of learning alliances

5 5 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Overview 1. Socioeconomic drivers of learning alliances 2. Core theses and leading questions 3. Basic types of learning alliances 4.Theoretical development and implications

6 6 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Core Theses Given these changes, the companies can no longer rely only on the recruitment of appropriately trained and increasingly scarce skilled workers on the external labour market nor can they trust in their permanent willingness to learn. The employees in turn cannot rely on the flexibility potentials of their occupational profiles or on a lifelong service for the same employer in the same occupational profile, once they have achieved their vocational qualifications. In fact, the accelerated change processes demand a reorientation of both actors with respect to their understanding of vocationalism and career development. To secure a core supply of skilled workers as well as their long-term recruitment, many enterprises consciously pursue an anticipatory strategy by means of innovative human resources models that also comprise an intensification of own initial vocational training and new forms of collaborative vocational training.

7 7 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Leading questions of the study on learning alliances Focus on cooperations within a joint vocational training and the establishment of cross-company learning alliances in the metal and electrical industries. Such networks have come into being in numerous sectors and regions: e.g. 40% of the companies in the metal and electrical industry practice learning alliances. These learning alliances provide a chance to recruit well-qualified skilled workers in particular for SMEs from industry, whose inadequate organisational, personnel or technical infrastructure does not allow them to set up own initial vocational training. Leading Questions: Which structures do these training partnerships have and how is the collaboration organised? To which extent are SMEs involved? Which types are in fact being used in the metal and electrical industries to a greater extent? Three main types: lead company structure, contract vocational education, training association

8 8 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Overview 1.Socioeconomic drivers of learning alliances 2.Core theses and leading questions 3.Basic types of learning alliances 4.Theoretical basis and development

9 9 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 a) Lead company with partner companies The lead company is the decision-making authority with regard to the selection of the trainees the conclusion of the training contract the training venue and the uniformity of training segments the preparation of the curricula the coordination of the vocational education as well as the representation vis-à-vis external institutions. The training relates to sector-specific occupations concerning the possible range of metalworking or electrical occupations as well as commercial training programs. The financing structure is stipulated in a cooperation contract in advance. About 45% of the ventures make use of this type of training collaboration.

10 10 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 b) Contract vocational education Primarily the employing company is in charge of the training applicants concerning training arrangements, selection of the trainees, training contract and training allowances. Like in the first type, most training phases take place in another training company. Overall responsibility for the trainee lies with the employing company while the responsibility for the vocational education lies with the training company. The training company is paid for individual training segments, in practice the trainees often spend whole training years in the training companies. At approximately 40 to 57 percent – depending on the study and the sector – this type is the most common or second most common form of collaborative training.

11 11 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 c) Training association Voluntary cooperation of enterprises in the shape of an association with the single goal of carrying out the vocational education for its member companies. The association is responsible for the selection of the trainees as well as for the conclusion of training contracts and training allowances. The financing arrangements include normally both membership fees and donations. The vocational training takes place in various workplaces in the member companies by means of a rotation principle. Very broad training programme that encompasses occupations from manifold sectors. Very broad membership base and structure (e.g. local authorities, employers, chambers of crafts, employment agencies, chambers of industry and commerce).

12 12 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Summary of characteristics The types vary in size, type of external cooperation partners, relevance in East and West Germany, opportunities for SMEs` participation etc. Quantitative significance in the metal and electrical industries: the first two types predominate in collaborative training ventures that do not receive public funding (at least 3/4 up to 90% of all training cooperations). Publicly funded training cooperations tend to establish themselves as associations, often on the initiative of state institutions (employment agencies, municipalities). Learning alliances offer numerous advantages for companies and trainees e.g. high quality of and synergies in the vocational training increasing opportunities for SMEs`participation in vocational training Learning alliances thus lead to a stabilization of the German Dual System of Vocational Training, but they change the well-established landscape of VET models and institutions in Germany.

13 13 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Overview 1.Socioeconomic drivers of learning alliances 2.Core theses and leading questions 3.Basic types of learning alliances 4.Theoretical development and implications

14 14 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Fundamental axiom is each company`s pursuit of autonomy vis-à-vis contingent conditions and internal restraints (Munich Autonomy Approach) Strategic autonomy is executed in a certain constitution of the internal elastic potentials technology, work organisation and personnel policy. Vocational training is a key element of personnel policy. What is new, however, is that this initial occupational training takes place as inter-company collaboration in vocational and further training. The companies thus come into conflict with the strategies of other enterprises and with their interest in maintaining their autonomy. This requires an extension of the theory approach in such a way that it does not only include enterprises but also networks as strategic actors. Further theoretical development and implications

15 15 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 The challenge the company autonomy faces is not only to develop internally-directed strategies but also to systematically integrate the network into its strategic orientation. This entails a conceptual extension by two separate dimensions, resp. levels of autonomy protection: an operational strategy in the internal organisation that is geared to cooperation with the network partners and a network-specific strategy that is directed at the continuance of the whole network by suppressing internal competition. Furthermore, the empirical studies also promise to open up education and employment perspectives. Training partnerships represent a – due to the demographic change increasingly - important dimension of operational strategy and autonomy protection, which becomes a new and in future more important element within the Dual System too. Further theoretical development and implications

16 16 Klaus Schmierl (ISF Munich): Inter-company Learning Alliances in the German Metal and Electrical Industries XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010 Thank you for your attention! Dr. Klaus Schmierl Institute for Social Science Research Jakob-Klar-Str Munich Germany


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