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Keywords:

  • Germany;
  • institutional change;
  • varieties of capitalism;
  • vocational training

Abstract

The German vocational training system has played a central role in sustaining the competitive strength of German manufacturing. This article provides an analysis of contemporary developments in this system to assess its likely future trajectory. I begin by underscoring the differences and similarities of the German system to alternative arrangements that have emerged in other countries. I then turn to recent trends in Germany that have caused concern among policy-makers about the continued strength and viability of the vocational training system. I discuss reforms undertaken in the past few years that point to incremental, though possibly transformative, changes in the system designed to reduce costs and increase flexibility through renegotiations on two fronts: between general training standards and firm needs and training practices, and between the in-plant and school-based components of training.