Vocational education: a success story? 
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Vocational education: a success story?  book
West Germany’s vocational education and training system has been praised internationally and admired by her neighbours. OECD examiners, looking at it in connection with youth unemployment, called its underlying strategy ‘eminently sensible’,2 and a mixed Anglo-German research team stated that ‘it seems beyond dispute that Germany’s successful economy has been well served by its highly developed vocational training system’.3 This provides compulsory, part-time vocational education for all 15-to 18-year olds who are not in full-time general or vocational education and vocational training for about 54 per cent of all 16-to 19-year olds;4 only a very small percentage of those not in full-time education receive no training at all. Thus in 1983, 74 per cent of the 15 to 16 age group5 entered into a new vocational training agreement, and by September 1984 707,000 of these had been concluded, 29,000 more than the previous year, and only 4.9 per cent of applicants failed to secure an apprenticeship with, as always not inconsiderable, regional variations. The drop-out rate, too, is relatively low for such a young age group. Whatever the statistical inaccuracies associated with these figures (they relate, for example, to the actual number of those still seeking a place), this is an impressive achievement, especially so since the demand for places has been increasing steadily (with the exception of 1981). The increase from 1983 to 1984 alone was 5.5 per cent.