What role do vocational schools play in cooperative education?
As equal partners in the on-the-job training component, vocational schools ensure that the German cooperative education system is at a level of international success. The work-related, interdisciplinary expertise provided by vocational schools as part of the professional training they offer is perfect for directly incorporating into cooperative study programmes. Students will be awarded credit for any courses undertaken at vocational schools when following a cooperative study programme with apprenticeship - no expertise will go to waste!
How can vocational schools participate in cooperative education?
In Rhineland-Palatinate, cooperative education can be split into two models, both of which involve the student studying at university whilst undertaking practical work in a company:
If the student chooses the apprenticeship variant, they will complete their studies at a university whilst also undertaking full vocational training, or in other words, they will be trained in a company or at a vocational school. Students will have already completed their compulsory twelve years at school and, as a result, are no longer legally required to attend vocational school. As such, as a general rule, their attendance at vocational schools is not compulsory, even if they intend to graduate from the practical part of their training by taking an official exam before the relevant Chamber.
Vocational schools may still participate in cooperative study programmes as a partner and in doing so, they may: supply content to prepare students for their studies, provide suitable support for students' vocational training according to an approved system and run entire specialised modules as replacements for the corresponding university sessions.
Vocational schools often run particularly good introductory sessions in students' first semesters, for example, introductions to accounting or technical drawing.
Students can receive ECTS credits for taking part in these sessions, meaning that they count towards their university degree programme.