There has been much praise for the German dual educational focus on providing both theoretical teaching and practical application of what is learned in the classroom. Similar to the dual education systems which currently exist in Denmark, Switzerland and Austria, the German system has been held up as a potential model for emulation for European countries experiencing rising unemployment.
In a variety of key industries where practical skills and application of knowledge is essential - such as manufacturing, engineering and the burgeoning IT industry - crucial skills are in short supply across the board. This is partly due to a recent trend of companies cutting or entirely freezing their training budget as they tighten their belts against austere economic conditions. However, part of the problem appears to be the lack of work-relevant skills being actively taught in a variety of European educational systems.
Europe must educate for employment, said Jürgen Thumann, president of BusinessEurope, One-fifth of young people are lacking a perspective for the future. Mr Thumann went on to describe the woeful situation where approximately 4 million EU jobs were standing vacant because job seeking candidates (many of them recent school-leavers) did not possess the correct skills to adequately fill them. This demonstrates that now more than ever professionals who have advanced skills in their chosen field - and are willing to travel - are in a much stronger position to find the job that is right for them.
With employers clamouring for more well-trained and skilful employees, candidates looking for engineering, manufacturing or IT jobs should ensure that they have properly described the extent of their practical knowledge and experience on their CV. Being able to point to examples of putting advanced skills into practice is more useful in impressing employers than ever before.
As a means of alleviating this current skills shortage facing Europe, business decision makers have turned to dual education. Highlighting the strength of Germany's various industries, the quality of German products and services can partly be attributed to the high skill levels of its employees. In turn, this high skill level has been fostered by excellent apprenticeship training programs that are part of the country's dual education system. Students will spend approximately 60 days per year in vocational apprenticeship facilities, spread across the course of the year in chunks of one or two weeks.
In the forthcoming EU proposal on how to tackle the skills deficit that so badly affects European unemployment, the high cost but sound investment of dual educational systems will be carefully considered.