Education Chains initiative

The initiative "Graduation and continuation – Education chains up to the vocational training qualification” supports adolescents in finishing school, finding an apprenticeship placement and successfully completing their vocational education and training.


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and Federal Employment Agency (BA) in cooperation with the federal states



"Educational chains until the completion of training" (Educational Chains Initiative) helps young people to prepare for their school leaving qualification and their career entry in a targeted manner. The BMBF, the BMAS and the BA have joined forces with the federal states to establish successful instruments at a national level (see diagram). The overall aim is to place every young person interested in training into a vocational education and training programme. For this reason, the vocational orientation process begins at an early stage and is conducted in a systematic manner. Where required, young people receive individual support in achieving a school leaving qualification and with integration into the working world. Various measures of support are available across the country.

  • Analysis of potential
  • Vocational orientation
  • Career entry support
  • Measures in the transitional sector
  • Coaching by volunteers (VerA Initiative)
  • Measures within training
  • A single structure and support instrument (e. g. the Career Choice Pass) from vocational orientation to training

All instruments are linked to provide comprehensive vocational orientation and achieve a smooth transition from school to work. Agreements between the Federal Government and the federal states support the systematic implementation of these instruments.

The Educational Chains Initiative makes a major contribution to secure successful training for young people by adopting a preventative and holistic approach. It is gradually creating a structured and coherent Federal Government and federal state policy in vocational orientation and at the transition from education to employment.

Analysis of potential

All pupils receive an analysis of potential from Year 7 onwards. This usually forms the starting point of the vocational orientation process. The analysis of potential is an instrument that aims towards identifying assets. During the analysis, personal, social and methodological competencies are recorded. The results help to encourage vocational autonomy, and provide recommendations to support personal development. Pupils expand their perspectives in an unbiased way.

Vocational orientation

Practical vocational orientation usually begins in Year 8. It takes an action-oriented approach. Young people can test their knowledge in a work environment. At an early stage, predispositions and talents can be explored. The gained practical experience strengthens confidence. Targeted work experience placements or workshop sessions provide an opportunity to try out career preferences in practice. This systematic establishment of competence allows to address a young person’s wishes regarding their career and future in a timely and specific way.

Career entry Support

Full-time career entry support workers assist young people as they progress from school to training. Their work starts in the penultimate year of schooling. Offering particularly to help young people with personal development as well as the identification and coordination of possibilities of further support, they work in close collaboration with the school and careers guidance services. Assistance continues into the first year of training, even if young people initially progress to other schemes within the transitional sector. Therefore, career entry support is able to bring together the whole of the vocational orientation process from school to training by offering a diverse range of opportunities.

Measures in the transitional sector

Practically relevant and target-oriented measures have priority in the transitional sector, if successful integration into training does not take place directly after the end of schooling. These measures should lead to training as swiftly as possible and systematically expand the skills and competencies of young people. They particularly include introductory training (EQ) or introductory training with additional training support measures (EQ plus).

Coaching by volunteers (VerA Initiative)

"VerA" (Prevention of Training Dropouts) is one possible instrument funded by the BMBF helping young people to finish their vocational training successfully. Retired professionals offer coaching free of charge for trainees. They bring many years of experience to the table and are able to offer assistance and guidance that help the young people to help themselves. This programme supplements the work done by career support workers and thus allows seamless support right up until the conclusion of training if necessary.

Measures within Training

Support provision within training itself helps to stabilise training arrangements, secure training success and prevent dropouts. Alongside career entry support and the volunteer coaching offered within the VerA initiative, trainees and companies get further assistance via vehicles such as training support measures and assisted training.

Career Choice Pass

The Career Choice Pass helps to organize vocational orientation. Pupils keep their results and documents of this process there. The Career Choice Pass accompanies young people on their way to successful integration into vocational training. It helps to analyse practical experiences, to plan job applications and to structure the steps to a training position.

Federal Government-Federal State-Federal Employment Agency Support Group

Since the launch of the Educational Chains Initiative in 2010, the BMBF is backing up the process at the institutional level via a Federal Government-Federal State-Federal Employment Agency Support Group. The Support Group is under the joint leadership of BMBF and BMAS since 2014. The main objective of this group is to coordinate Federal Government and federal state measures. Activities and concepts presented and transferred aim at supporting pupils as they progress to working life. Good practice is rendered visible. The Support Group also creates transparency with regard to areas where further action is required and possible supplementary measures are needed. Its members are representatives from BMBF and BMAS, the sixteen Ministries of Education and Cultural Affairs of the federal states, the Conference of the Ministers of Economic Affairs of the Federal States, the Conference of the Ministers of Labour of the Federal States and from the BA.

Educational Chains Service Agency at BIBB

The Educational Chains Service Agency has been set up at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) to provide specialist support and public relations work for the initiative. This Service Agency acts as the Main Office of the Federal Government-Federal State-Federal Employment Agency Support Group and coordinates the Federal Working Group of the Career Choice Pass.

Together with its regional partners, the Service Agency is responsible for the flow of information between the relevant ministries and the educational practice. It develops materials for the implementation of supporting measures and offers various event for networking and knowledge transfer.

Contact details:
Servicestelle Bildungsketten beim Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung [Educational Chains Service Agency at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training]
Robert-Schuman-Platz 3
D-53175 Bonn
Tel.: +49-228-107-1220
Fax: +49-228-107-2887