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Apprenticeships and vocational training

Apprentices receive practical on-the-job training within companies. In addition, there is a special theoretical instruction at vocational schools, with classes being held either on one or two days per week or within a block of classes over several weeks ("dual system"). On-the-job training within an enterprise provides the kind of knowledge and skills that is needed in order to become a skilled worker and become employed in the trade learned. Apprenticeship training produces excellent skilled labour. No company can do without. The major advantage of the dual system is its flexibility in accommodating a gradual re-design of training rules and developing new apprenticeship trades. This approach makes it possible for the system to respond to the requirements of business and labour markets and deliver training that is adjusted to changing needs.

The Vocational Training Act (Berufsausbildungsgesetz – BAG, only available in German) includes the related statutory rules.

Depending on the chosen trade, an apprenticeship can last two, two and a half, three, three and a half or four years, and will always be concluded with a final examination. There are different possibilities to individual the vocational training. Please read more about the Apprenticeship in Austria.

The introduction of a vocational matriculation examination (Berufsreifeprüfung) enables young people to combine the apprenticeship and upper-secondary school leaving examinations. Please read more information at Apprenticeships and matriculation.

Euroskills Budapest 2018 - Monika Pöllabauer - Silbermedaille im Restaurantservice
Winners Award at Euroskills 2018 in Budapest photo:

Skills competitions

Alongside numerous national skills competitions like the AustrianSkills, the international EuroSkills and WorldSkills competitions are held alternatingly every two years. Via the AustrianSkills the competitors qualify for World- and Euroskills, where young people have the opportunity to test their abilities and skills against other international participants.


WorldSkills International is an international vocational skills competition held every two years. WorldSkills International is a non-profit organisation founded in 1953 and headquartered in the Netherlands. Austrian teams have participated in WorldSkills competitions 27 times since 1961 with many excellent results. Austria's 419 participants so far were awarded a total of 180 medals and 136 special awards. Please see impressions of the last WorldSkills in Kazan 2019 .


Please see impressions of the last EuroSkills in Budapest 2018. The next event, the EuroSkills 2020, will take place in Graz.

First-time training of apprentices

In accordance with § 3a of the Vocational Training Act (Berufsausbildungsgesetz - BAG) those employers offering apprenticeship training for the first time must apply for a licence. The Apprenticeship Office of the Economic Chamber in the relevant Bundesland (federal state) – together with the Chamber of Labour – will follow a specific assessment procedure to determine whether the facility or workshop in question is equipped and run in a manner that provides an appropriate framework for imparting the requisite knowledge and skills to apprentices. Companies unable to provide apprenticeships which cover the whole range of activities and skills of an apprenticed trade, or which do not have the necessary equipment for such comprehensive training, may be permitted to work in association with other companies or training facilities to train apprentices (training cluster).

The company must appoint a suitable instructor who has either attended a course for instructors or has passed the instructor´s examination. Instructors are pedagogically and legally qualified employees of companies licensed to train apprentices. They have proven these qualifications in an instructor's examination or have acquired these qualifications in a special course for instructors. This function may be assumed by the licensed employer herself/himself or by a qualified employee of the company. Companies offering apprenticeship training for the first time or resuming the training programme after a break of three years or more may claim a premium of € 2.000,00 for each apprentice taken on. For further information please consult www.lehre-fö (available only in German).

Since 2008 a new incentive system has been in place to encourage more employers to train apprentices.

Additional Information


Vocational Training: