In-company introductory training is an excellent way for difficult-to-place young people gain access to vocational training: employers offering introductory training can receive funding through a pay subsidy of up to 216 euros per month plus a lump-sum share of the average total social insurance contributions for the apprentice/trainee. Introductory training schemes, lasting a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months, are geared towards teaching and consolidating basic information that individuals need to learn occupational skills. During introductory training programmes, students attend a vocational school. If successful, candidates can transfer their credits to subsequent vocational training programmes. The introductory training scheme is also geared towards persuading businesses that do not, or no longer, offer training places take a more active role in vocational training and education.
Since the launch of the Special Introductory Training for Youths Programme (EQJ-Programm) on 1 October 2004, the Federal Government has been supporting efforts on the part of economy to make 40,000 introductory training places available by promoting introductory training. The Special Programme was evaluated in the framework of accompanying research conducted by the Berlin-based Gesellschaft für Innovationsforschung und Beratung mbH (GIB).
Given the positive results of the accompanying research, in-company introductory training was incorporated into the Employment Promotion Act (Arbeitsförderungsrecht) on 1 October 2007 as an activity by employers eligible for subsidies. The conditions for funding eligibility, which had been regulated in the Introductory Training for Youths Programme Guidelines, are now regulated by the Employment Promotion Act, with very few changes being made to the original conditions. In addition to training applicants who, for individual reasons, have limited placement prospects, and training seekers who do not yet have the necessary level of education for vocational training programmes, the scope now also includes young people with learning difficulties and socially disadvantaged young people. In addition, public employers can also receive funding if the introductory training prepares individuals for a trained occupation involving workplace and classroom education and training (dualer Ausbildungsberuf).