How to learn a profession in Europe

If you are a non-EU citizen and want to learn a profession in the EU, a German apprenticeship might be a good option. Apprenticeships (also called “vocational training”) is a formal professional educational qualification in the area of blue collar professions. Having achieving the degree as a ‘skilled worker’ with the apprenticeship foreigners have high chances for a permanent job and a permanent life in Germany.

Reasons why to learn a profession in the EU

As the leading economy in the EU, Germany has a high and steady rising demand in blue collar workers. With an apprenticeship non-EU citizens have excellent job opportunities and can choose from positions with a good salary.

The German system of vocational training (in German: “Berufsausbildungen” or “Duale Berufsausbildungen”) is unique in the EU: Within a paid multi-year education program participants learn a profession during their apprenticeship according to German standards as well in vocational schools as in the companies which employ the trainees.

With a vocational training in Germany, foreign applicants receive a German qualification as a skilled worker. With this qualification, non-EU citizens can continue to work in the company or obtain further qualifications (e.g. master craftsman, Bachelor professional or Master professional or even can start a study at a German university), become self-employed or return to their home country to work here with the foreign qualification. With this foreign qualification and existing support of the German government foreigners can set up companies in their home countries with massive advantages.

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Vocational Training vs. University Education: A Comparison

Vocational training and university education are two primary paths to achieving career goals. While both have their merits, there are significant differences between the two, and it is essential to understand them before deciding which route to pursue.

One significant difference between vocational training and university education is the focus on practical skills versus academic knowledge. Vocational training is more hands-on and prepares students with specific job-related skills that they will need in their chosen field. On the other hand, university education emphasizes theoretical and abstract concepts that are relevant across a wide range of industries.

Vocational training and university education are two distinct paths to career success, each with their own advantages and limitations. Choosing the right option depends on a variety of factors, including personal preferences, career goals, financial situation, and time constraints. It is essential to evaluate these factors carefully before making a decision and to remember that both vocational training and university education have the potential to lead to fulfilling and successful careers.

Another difference between vocational training and university education is the duration and cost of the programs. Vocational training programs are typically shorter and more affordable than university degrees. This makes them a more accessible option for individuals who want to enter the workforce quickly or are on a limited budget.

A key advantage of university education is the broader range of career options it can open up. Graduates with university degrees often have more opportunities to pursue careers in fields outside of their majors due to the broad-based education they receive. In contrast, vocational training may limit job prospects to a specific field or industry.

The Role of Vocational Training in Supporting Economic Growth in the EU

Vocational training plays a critical role in supporting economic growth in the EU. By providing workers with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce, vocational training programs can help to boost productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.

One way that vocational training supports economic growth is by addressing the skills gap. The skills gap refers to the mismatch between the skills that employers need and the skills that workers possess. By offering training programs that are specifically designed to meet the needs of employers, vocational training programs can help to bridge this gap and ensure that workers have the skills that are in demand.

Another way that vocational training supports economic growth is by increasing labor market participation. By providing individuals with the skills and qualifications they need to enter the workforce, vocational training programs can help to reduce unemployment rates and increase the number of people who are actively contributing to the economy.

Vocational training programs can also support economic growth by promoting entrepreneurship. By offering training programs that focus on business development and management, vocational training can help to equip individuals with the skills they need to start and run successful businesses. This can lead to job creation, innovation, and increased competitiveness in the marketplace.

About the author: Dr. Wolfgang Sender studied sociology and political science and has been writing as a journalist on international career issues since 2018. He is the author of several books and many articles.

Facts and figures

  • According to a report, London has the highest concentration of banks in Europe.
  • Germany is home to the largest number of banking institutions in Europe.
  • Switzerland is known for its strong banking sector, with some of the world's leading banks headquartered in the country.
  • Spain has seen significant growth in its fintech industry in recent years.
  • The European Investment Bank is the largest public lending institution in Europe.

Which foreigners can learn a profession in the EU?

Foreigners who are interested in learning a profession in the EU must fulfill certain requirements to be eligible for vocational training programs. The eligibility criteria vary depending on the country and program, but typically include factors such as age, education level, and language proficiency.

Learn a profession in the EU?
Vocational training plays a vital role in supporting economic growth in the EU. By addressing the skills gap, increasing labor market participation, and promoting entrepreneurship, vocational training programs can help to create a workforce that is prepared for the challenges of the 21st century economy.

In Germany, for example, foreigners who want to learn a profession through the dual system of vocational education and training (VET) must be at least 16 years old, have a minimum of a secondary school certificate, and demonstrate proficiency in German language. In addition, some professions require specific aptitudes, such as manual dexterity or mathematical skills.

In other EU countries, the eligibility criteria may differ, but generally, foreigners must have a legal right to reside and work in the country, meet the age and education requirements, and have the necessary language skills. Some countries may also require foreigners to take additional tests or assessments to determine their suitability for vocational training programs. It is important for prospective students to research the specific requirements for their country of interest and ensure they meet all eligibility criteria before applying.

How much to earn when learning a profession in the EU?

During your training in Germany you will receive a training allowance from your employer. The monthly remuneration ranges from at least approximately €600 gross in the first training year to at least €900 gross or more in the third training year. The amount of the monthly allowance might be higher and depends to a large extent on your employer and your curriculum vitae. Employers often offer additional support such as free local transportation tickets or financial support for your accommodation.

Can I learn a profession in the EU (Germany) without knowing German?

No. You will learn your profession to 50% within a German-speaking company by practical work and to 50% in a special vocational school. All lessons will be held in German language only – therefore foreign applicants need German skills on level B1 of the GER already when applying. If you do not yet have the B1 level but A2, our specialized individual German language can help you to acquire the necessary knowledge of German. We cannot help starters with A0 or A1 however.

Questions and answers

  1. Are there any specific eligibility criteria for receiving BAföG in Germany?

    Yes, BAföG eligibility criteria include German citizenship, residence permit, or EU citizenship, age limits, income, and asset limits.

  2. Can I receive multiple scholarships or forms of funding for my education in Germany?

    Yes, you can receive multiple scholarships or funding sources for your education in Germany, depending on the individual terms and conditions of each.

  3. What types of part-time jobs are available for students in Germany?

    Part-time jobs for students in Germany include working in cafes, restaurants, retail stores, tutoring, or as research assistants.

  4. Can I receive financial support for language courses in Germany?

    Yes, you can receive financial support for language courses through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or other scholarship providers.

  5. Are there any funding opportunities available for doctoral studies in Germany?

    Yes, there are various funding opportunities for doctoral studies in Germany, including scholarships, research fellowships, and stipends.

  6. How do I apply for an educational loan in Germany?

    You can apply for an educational loan in Germany by contacting a bank or the KfW directly and providing the necessary documentation.

  7. Can I receive funding for a second degree in Germany?

    Funding for a second degree in Germany is possible, but eligibility depends on the specific program and individual circumstances.

  8. Are there any options for financing a private education in Germany?

    Yes, private education can be financed through educational loans or scholarships, but private institutions usually have higher tuition fees.

  9. How can I budget for my education expenses in Germany?

    To budget for your education expenses in Germany, you should take into account tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, and potential additional expenses such as textbooks or equipment.

  10. Can I receive financial support for extracurricular activities in Germany?

    Yes, some scholarships and funding sources may cover extracurricular activities, such as sports or cultural activities, depending on their individual criteria.

  11. How can I ensure that I receive my funding on time?

    To ensure timely funding, you should submit all necessary documents and applications as early as possible and regularly check for updates or additional requirements.

  12. What happens if I cannot repay my educational loan or BAföG?

    If you cannot repay your educational loan or BAföG, you may be able to request a deferment, reduced payments, or apply for loan forgiveness, depending on the specific program and circumstances.

  13. Are there any options for crowdfunding my education in Germany?

    Yes, crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter can be used to raise funds for education in Germany, but success depends on the individual campaign and its audience.

  14. How can I find information on financing options for my specific field of study?

    You can find information on financing options for your specific field of study through your educational institution, student organizations, or by contacting relevant scholarship providers or funding agencies.

Vocational Training Programs for the Digital Age in the EU

In today’s digital age, vocational training programs in the EU must adapt to meet the changing needs of the workforce. With the increasing demand for workers with digital skills, there is a growing need for vocational training programs that focus on digital technology.

One area where vocational training is evolving is in the development of new programs that teach digital skills. This includes programs that focus on coding, cybersecurity, digital marketing, and data analysis. These programs aim to prepare students for careers in the rapidly growing digital industry, which is expected to continue to expand in the coming years.

Vocational training programs in the EU are evolving to meet the demands of the digital age. By offering new programs that focus on digital skills, using technology to enhance the learning experience, and delivering programs in a hybrid or online format, vocational training is becoming more accessible and relevant than ever before. These changes will help to ensure that the EU workforce remains competitive and prepared for the digital future.

Another way that vocational training programs are adapting to the digital age is through the use of technology in teaching. Digital tools such as online learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and gamification are being used to enhance the learning experience for students. These tools can help to make vocational training more engaging, interactive, and accessible.

The use of technology is also transforming the way vocational training is delivered. With the growth of remote work and online learning, many vocational training programs are now being offered in a hybrid or fully online format. This makes it easier for students to access vocational training programs from anywhere in the world, which can be especially beneficial for individuals who live in rural areas or who have limited access to training programs.


Learning a profession in Europe can open up new opportunities for personal growth and professional development. By gaining new skills and knowledge, individuals can improve their chances of finding fulfilling employment and achieving their personal goals.

One way that learning a profession in Europe can improve your personal life is by increasing your earning potential. With a higher level of education and specialized skills, individuals can qualify for better-paying jobs and advance their careers. This can lead to greater financial stability, which can in turn improve your overall quality of life.

Learning a profession in Europe can also broaden your cultural horizons and provide opportunities for personal enrichment. By studying and working in a different country, individuals can immerse themselves in new cultures, languages, and ways of life. This can help to broaden their perspective and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for diversity.

In addition to the personal benefits, learning a profession in Europe can also have a positive impact on society as a whole. By contributing to the skilled workforce and promoting innovation, individuals can help to drive economic growth and create a better future for themselves and future generations.

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