In September 2021, many young people in the Bad Kissingen district started their careers. At the beginning of the new apprenticeship year, however, the Mainfranken Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) sounded the alarm: According to the IHK, a number of apprenticeships in the region will again remain vacant in 2021. “We can feel that it is difficult to fill the vacancies at the moment,” confirms Lukas Kagerbauer, Head of Training at the IHK Wrzburg-Schweinfurt.
The problems are evident in companies in almost all industries, explains Kagerbauer. “There are around 1.7 vacancies for every application. The young people are very cautious,” he says. In all of Main Franconia there are around 500 fewer apprenticeships than a year ago. “That affects the region and the economic area, it is a blow to the office,” said Kagerbauer.
The corona pandemic has of course its part in the misery. Career orientation was not guaranteed by the pandemic, says Kagerbauer. “There were hardly any internships, and trade fairs only partially worked in digital form.” This has led to great uncertainty among young people about which career path they should choose.
The reasons for the dwindling training relationships continue for Kagerbauer apart from Corona: “Several factors come together.” Especially in rural circles like Bad Kissingen, the spatial hurdle is often an obstacle. “Demographic developments – we have fewer school leavers and more retirement – also play a role,” he says.
Fewer apprenticeships, but far fewer applications
In addition, there are fewer apprenticeships in industries particularly affected by the pandemic, such as gastronomy or tourism. However, Kagerbauer emphasizes that it is a matter of a decline of only around six percent across all industries. “The problem is more on the other side,” he says. After all, there are more than twelve percent fewer applications compared to the previous year.
“We must not give up. We are doing everything we can to get applicants and companies together,” said Kagerbauer, “but at the moment it is a very difficult situation for almost all companies. This not only affects the small and medium-sized ones, but also the big ones. The number of applications has halved over the last few years and has now been reduced again. “
A precarious situation for hotels and restaurants
Heinz Stempfle, district chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Association and owner of the Westpark Hotel in Bad Kissingen, gets emotional when it comes to training. “That touches me a lot, it can get you really scared of the sky,” he says. And further: “I see there very black.” Corona naturally plays a role in his industry, but even before the pandemic there were fewer and fewer applications. Accordingly, a lot often depends on the operators and their families. But: “The families can’t do it forever and then more and more bars and hotels disappear.”
The restaurant association is already making efforts to bring apprentices from abroad to Germany, says Stempfle. “The whole gastronomy society is racking its brains about how to improve the situation. The problem is attractiveness. The young people should also be on at the weekend and in the evening. Nobody wants to work there, but everyone wants to go to dinner there. You are not allowed to be too pessimistic, but the situation is very precarious. “
The problems in the industry are also evident at the Garitz vocational school. Here, among other things, kitchens, hotel clerks and specialists, restaurant specialists, experts in system catering and specialists in the hospitality industry are trained. In the first year, around 70 apprentices attend the vocational school for these six occupations.
Garitz is the point of contact for all trainees from the Bad Kissingen, Rhn-Grabfeld and Haberge districts as well as the city and district of Schweinfurt. The number of newcomers has been quite stable in recent years, says administrative clerk Katja Mller, but it has fallen enormously in the long term, especially in view of the school’s large area of responsibility.
Construction industry: “The crowd is no longer there”
At the beginning of the training year, around a third of the registered apprenticeships in the construction industry in the Bad Kissingen district were also vacant, as the industrial union Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt reported. And that despite the ongoing construction boom. Beate Glatt, who is responsible for training at the Eltingshus-based construction company Peter Heil, confirms: “Otherwise we had seven or eight new trainees, this year there are only four.”
The company, with around 200 employees, does not set a number of apprenticeships from the outset, but depends on the quality and quantity of the applications. “It’s not that we don’t get anything. But the crowd is no longer there,” says Glatt. “In the construction industry, the number of training courses has been declining for a long time. You sometimes get dirty and the attitude towards work is different than it used to be.”
According to Glatt, the company has no problems in the commercial area. A job at a desk or in large-scale industry might be more tempting for young people, she suspects. And in general, the classic apprenticeship is a bit out of fashion: “For a dual course of study, if I wanted, I could do 20 job interviews,” says Glatt.