Mrs Birgit THOMANN

Head, Department of Internationalisation of VET / Knowledge Management,
Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Germany

Topic: STEM and Their Relevance for VET in Germany

Date: 17 June 2017

Time: 11:10 - 11:40


The presentation gives an overview of the present situation and future development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in vocational education and training (VET) in Germany. To the German economy and its successful performance, qualifications and competences in the field of STEM are of utmost importance. Its USP is based to a great extent on high-tech applications in the manufacturing industry. For companies belonging to this sector, STEM qualifications are essential to remain successful competitors. Given this understanding, STEM is not merely an additional topic for VET; rather it is immanent to the German VET system and key to its success.

Starting with the characteristics of the dual system in VET, the presentation describes the current situation in STEM occupations in Germany. In spite of obvious career opportunities, certain STEM occupations still have to cope with obstacles and even stereotypes. Thus, selected programs to promote STEM training occupations in Germany are illustrated.

The presentation concludes in giving tentative considerations to the challenge of skill shortage in STEM occupations as well as to the impact which digitization and the increased use of technology will have on qualification needs in VET.


Birgit Thomann, political and social scientist with an additional Master in adult education, heads BIBB's department for internationalization of VET and knowledge management since 2010. After gaining international experience in France and the Middle East, Mrs. Thomann worked three years as a senior advisor for VET and team leader of a bilateral VET project in the Western Balkans. She is an appointed member in an expert committee on education at the German Commission for UNESCO and lecturer at the University (TU) of Darmstadt.

BIBB, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, is a centre of excellence for research related to the progressive development of VET in Germany. Internationalization comprises tasks pertaining to the development of international dimensions in German vocational education and training as well as the progressive development of BIBB's international activities and cooperative ventures.