Merkel to make British apprentices into Teutons

The German government has launched an 'Auf Wiedersehen, Pet'-esque scheme to get British talent flocking to Berlin to join German firms.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 07 Mar 2014

Angela Merkel’s government is soon to embark on a £120m drive to get young British talent to move to Germany and work on all-expenses-paid apprenticeship schemes. 

Despite years of recession, Germany remains the manufacturing and engineering powerhouse of Europe, but it is worried about a growing lack of skills because of its ageing population. The government hopes to cement its leading position by plugging this gap with an assortment of the brightest Brits.

So what do you need to do/be to get on one of these schemes? You need to be educated to at least ‘A’ Level standard, and then apply to one of the companies that have signed up to the programme. 

The firms involved are yet to be revealed, but apparently you’ll get your moving costs covered by the scheme, money to travel home a couple of times a year, and 170 hours of free language training so that you can converse properly with your boss. Oh, and you get paid £700 a month after tax.

It’s an interesting investment from Germany, considering there is no urgent need for it (compared with the rest of Europe): it has the lowest youth joblessness in the eurozone. Just 7.5% of German youths are out of work, compared with Britain’s 20%. 

Bob Bischoff, who heads up the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce, says the scheme is a way for Brits to get ‘top flight training’, and he hopes that ‘many of those who come over will like the life, maybe meet a German partner, and stay for good.’ He adds: ‘It means British employers will have to try harder to get the best young apprentices as it is more competition.’

Perhaps the British government could take note, and in lieu of investing in British engineering students (that’s another debate altogether), start getting some of that talent over from Germany…

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