Training in Germany for EU Citizens

Due to the freedom of movement, EU citizens do not only have the right to work in Germany, but are also entitled to complete vocational training there.

In Germany, a system of dual vocational training has been established. During the training you do not only study at school, but also put what you have learned into practice at your training company. Here, you gain the special knowledge you will need for your future job. During the period of training, the training company pays a training allowance, namely a salary. Training in the company takes place on three to four days a week. The lessons at vocational school conveying subject-specific theoretical and also general knowledge take place for eight to twelve hours a week. They are especially designed for the chosen occupation.

The dual training takes two to three and a half years, depending on the occupation. After the first and second year of training, intermediate examination needs to be passed. The third year of training and the final examination follow. For some occupations, the final examination takes place at the end of the second, and then last, year of training.

Dual training can be commenced with any graduation or qualification, no university courses are necessary. Frequently, after completing vocational training, the training companies take on their trainees. A training relationship is a subset of an employment relationship, therefore the rules applicable to working in Germany can also be applied to vocational training in Germany.

EU's special programme against youth unemployment

Many European countries have a high rate of youth unemployment, in Germany many trainee positions remain vacant. Because of this, in the beginning of 2013 the German Government and the Federal Employment Agency initiated a special programme called "MobiPro-EU" (Promoting occupational mobility of young persons interested in training and unemployed young adults from Europe). Support is offered to young persons to help them with commencing vocational training in Germany.

Background: In France 26 percent of the young do not have a job, 35 percent in Italy and Portugal. The rate of youth unemployment in Greek and Spain is even higher at more than 50 percent. Whereas in Germany only 8 percent of the young persons under 25 years do not have a trainee position or a place of employment.

The programme aims at encouraging the occupational mobility of young persons within the EU. Language support in the country of origin as well as in Germany is emphasized strongly. In addition, the programme grants travel allowances and funding for living expenses during the period of the preparatory internship and during the entire period of training.

Every young EU citizen at the age of 18 to 35 is entitled to this support. The programme is also open to young skilled employees, who already have completed vocational training and want to take on a qualified shortage occupation in Germany.

In exceptional cases that need special reasoning, for example in health care occupations, job seekers can be supported until the age of 40.

Those young adults form Europe, who are already qualified for a shortage occupation, can take part in a process of recognition of this qualification. Which occupations are regarded shortage occupations, results from the shortage analysis performed by the Federal Employment Agency. This analysis is updated regularly and considers regional differences. Up to 139 Million Euro are available to the programme until the year 2016.

Language courses and travel allowances

The programme particularly wants to help young Europeans to overcome language barriers being an obstacle to vocational training or work in Germany. Language courses in the country of origin to prepare for the job in Germany are being paid for. Even so, who needs to learn German after having commenced vocational training or work in Germany, receives funding for this purpose. To be allowed to take up supported vocational training in Germany, interested persons are obliged to first complete an internship in the training company. This way, trainees shall be prevented from dropping out of training because their personal expectations were not met.

Furthermore, young persons from countries without dual vocational training can gain insight into everyday working life in Germany. For the internship and the job interviews, travel allowances are granted for the journeys there and back. Additionally, the young adults can receive financial aid to cover their living expenses, if their salary is not sufficient. Accompanying the vocational training, individual education is financed, if necessary.

Federal Employment Agency

Responsible for the special programme is the Federal Employment Agency's International Placement Services (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung der Bundesagentur für Arbeit - ZAV). They consider the applications, grant the allowances and pay the trainees. The programme is called "The job of my life".

The ZAV knows about vacant positions for vocational training in Germany. They are looking for interested applicants from abroad for these positions.

Besides the language courses, the programme covers extensive guidance and supervision, an internship with a company as well as financial support.

The programme "The Job Of My Life" can be commenced with any graduation.

Despite the extensive support, it is in the option of the participants to the programme to remain in Germany after completing training and work there, to return to their home country or choose any place in Europe or the world for their occupational career.


Summary of the services of the programme:

- Preparatory German language course in the home country
- Financial contribution to travel and moving expenses
- Language course in Germany to prepare for the internship
- Additional financial support besides the training allowance
- Personal assistance at school, in the company and in everyday life


Which requirements must be met to be allowed to take part in the programme for young Europeans?

You need to have fulfilled general compulsory education and have a good certificate. No special graduation is necessary. Besides, you need to be willing to take responsibility and to be committed, you need to be able to work in a team, be reliable, stressable, willing to work and friendly. Of course, you also need to be courageous and curios about living in another country for a certain period of time or permanently.

Summary of the essential requirements for Mobi-Pro EU respectively "The Job Of My Life":

- The minimum age is 18 years, the maximum age is 35 years (in exceptional cases: 40 years) - You are a national of a EU- or EEA-state, or Switzerland, and therefore enjoy the right to freedom of movement within the EU.
- You have not completed vocational training.
- You have fulfilled general compulsory education.
- You are willing to learn German.


The EURES-consultants in the respective home country or the ZAV in Germany provide information on the selection of applicants. EURES stands for European Development Services. It is a Europe-wide network of the public labour administration. The EURES-partners assist the German ZAV in their search for qualified applicants and the preselection for the job interviews.

Then, an application needs to be submitted to the desired training company. This application consists of a letter of application, the curriculum vitae, certificates and a photograph. The company needs to be convinced of why exactly this applicant should be trained by them.

Following a successful written application, you will be invited to a job interview. For this you should be very well prepared, for example by collecting information about the company and preparing for questions about your personal interests and skills.

If you are given a firm job offer, the vocational training can commence.

The process of the supported training in Germany

Language courses

The programme starts with a preparatory German language course in the respective home country to become a little familiar with the language before arrival.

After moving to Germany, you will take part in a full time language course to prepare for the internship. This period of time can also be qualified as a settling in period.

Internship in Germany

The two-month internship with the company follows, so that you can get to know the favoured job.

Signing of the training contract

If the internship proceeds accordingly to the expectations, you can decide to sign the training contract, which will be offered to you then.

Start of vocational training

The three-year training period begins on 1st August or 1st September 2013. Simultaneously, the knowledge of the German language is intensified. Furthermore, a person to turn to is always available, not only for consultations and help concerning the job or school, but also for personal problems.

Prospective end of traineeship

The training ends with the final examination on 31st August 2016. This final examination is very important, since you need to have passed it to be allowed to take up the learnt occupation.