The protracted European debt crisis and austerity measures have made career prospects for many of the continent’s youth bleaker than ever. In Spain and Greece, nearly half of all those under age 25 are unemployed.
But … that’s not the case in Germany. In stark contrast, Germany’s youth employment is the highest in Europe, with only a 7.8 percent jobless rate. At the heart of that success is a learn-on-the-job apprenticeship system that has its roots in the Middle Ages but is thriving today in Germany’s modern, export-oriented economy.
A brightly lit Lufthansa workshop in Hamburg is part of that apprenticeship system. Teenagers like Dittmar, many dressed in the company’s navy blue shirts and overalls, are busy learning the basics: drilling, filing, soldering and manipulating sheet metal.
Dittmar’s apprenticeship is part of Germany’s well-established and successful “dual system,” so-called because training is done both in-house at a company…
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