For Germany, well-trained and highly-motivated workers constitute an important competitive advantage in the international arena. Maintaining and fostering such a workforce is one of the tasks of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS). The German government has joined forces with leading industry organisations in the National Pact to Promote Training and Young Skilled Workers to enable young people in particular to get a start in working life by helping them undergo in-company vocational training. The shared aim here is to increase vocational training rates in order to counteract the shortage of skilled labour that threatens to arise in the medium term. Special initiatives such as Introductory Training seek to improve the opportunities of both young and older individuals to undergo vocational training and land a job.
The European Social Fund (ESF) is an important funding instrument alongside national labour market and social policies. With the BMAS acting as lead ministry, this funding is used on a pinpointed basis to improve men and women's equality of opportunity on the labour market and to integrate disadvantaged social groups such as immigrants into the labour market. One of the Ministry's most important aims is to create incentives for more part-time training for employed persons, particularly for older or low-skilled individuals. The Upskilling for Low-skilled and Older Workers Employed in Companies (WeGebAU) programme and the option of undergoing training during periods of short-time work are important elements of these efforts.