Training: offers, selection, financing

Training is part of every job and career today. Not only does this require the dictates of lifelong learning, but the rapid technological advances in the knowledge society, as well as the labor market, in order to assert oneself, for example, against competitors and to remain attractive in the labor market even at a higher age. Especially online courses and webinars are currently very popular among training. But popular does not automatically mean good. Therefore, we asked ourselves the questions: Are such webinars useful as training? And are training worthwhile at all? Here are the answers…

Definition: training or further education?

Often the terms education and training are used interchangeably. That’s not entirely wrong, but there are a few differences – by definition.

Further education is a special form of professional development. This feature is regulated in the Vocational Training Act (BBiG). There four different training types are defined and distinguished:

Updating training

Through these training courses, the existing training and the professional status are adapted to current and new circumstances and requirements.

Extension training

Through this advanced training, the technical basis and qualification is expanded and partially deepened in new areas. It can also be opened up new topics.

Conservation training

With these training courses, the existing knowledge is primarily refreshed, thus ensuring a consistent professional qualification and quality.

Upgrading training

This training is the basis for the career advancement (promotion) and the assumption of new tasks – usually with more responsibility.

In addition, further education can be a real alternative to extra-occupational studies. Because she …

  • is often much shorter – six to twelve months – as study programs.
  • is – as for example graduated from the IHK – as well as a degree.
  • often impart knowledge more practically than studying.
  • is usually cheaper than a comparable degree.

In turn, a further education that does not fall under the concept of further education can also be a simple additional qualification or a completely new vocational training.

Since it does not necessarily benefit the current employer (for example, in the case of completely non-specialist content), the cost of continuing education is generally not covered by the employer.

Financing of training: money for employees

Continuous learning not only costs time and energy, but above all money. Depending on the training content and format even a lot of money. Fortunately, in addition to employer support, some funding is available for training. But in turn …

Financing by the employer

Before you make your way to authorities, public bodies or foundations, you should first check the financing of the training by the employer. If the relationship with the supervisor and the company is good and if you want to stay in the company for a longer period of time as an employee, the chances are quite good.

The financing by the employer should still be well considered, because …

In return for financial support, employees often have to contractually commit themselves to the company for several years and / or waive part of the salary.

Within the specified time window, a lot of things can change in the company. A new boss, new requirements or a changed working atmosphere can complicate the work.

the contacts made through the training can not be used in a timely manner. For example, if you have an attractive job offer, you are still tied.

If you cancel the training for important reasons, your employer may be able to reclaim part of the money. Depending on the time, high sums come together.

Despite these conditions, employer financing can be the easiest way to further education.

Funding via the employer

Some of the most extensive training grants can only refer employees indirectly through their employer. For example, the so-called WeGebAU program (PDF) of the Federal Employment Agency serves to further qualify low-skilled and older employees so that they can remain in the company.

On the one hand, it prevents unemployment, on the other hand, these subsidies can help to avoid skills shortages in the company. Since 2014, only parts of the costs have been taken over. This means specifically:

For employees older than 45 years, the employment agencies cover up to 75% of the course costs. The remaining costs are borne by the company and / or the employee.

In the case of younger employees, support is only possible if the company covers at least 50 percent of the course costs.

Employees receive an educational voucher for these services, which they can use to access approved offers. Employers, in turn, can receive grants to pay. However, it is important for the grants that the grants are requested by the company through the employer service. Employees can only provide information here, but do not submit the application themselves.

The same applies to grants for vocational rehabilitation. Employers who employ an employee who returns to work after a long illness or other health problems can apply for benefits from the Federal Employment Agency for necessary continuing education and training.

Read more in our contribution to the integration grant.

Further education through public funding

Employees themselves can also apply for public funding, regardless of the company. However, these are subject to various requirements. Very popular is the mentioned education voucher. These allow travel and accommodation costs, childcare costs and, to a certain extent, further training costs, to be covered by the Federal Employment Agency.

Employees must contact the Employment Agency. This performance is also interesting for employees re-entering the job. However, there is no entitlement to the education voucher. This is an optional service and is at the sole discretion of the agent.

It is intended primarily for the unemployed or for workers who are in acute danger of unemployment if they do not do a specific training and / or have no vocational qualification.

Do training costs have to be repaid?

In most federal states, employees are entitled to so-called educational leave. For example, they can be paid off for five days a year for the purpose of vocational training – their employer must continue to pay the agreed salary during this period.

However, this does not yet imply a duty to pay the training costs, says Sandra Voigt, an employment law expert at However, if the wish to participate in further education or training is provided by the employer, then the latter is obliged to assume the costs incurred.

Most often, a so-called repayment clause is agreed between the employer and the willing employee. In doing so, the latter undertakes to repay all or part of the training costs if he changes his employer within a certain period of time or terminates the training prematurely.

Not every repayment agreement is effective. Rather, the following requirements must be considered in particular:

The repayment agreement must be made in writing before the beginning of the training.

Training must offer the employee better opportunities in the general job market – acquiring specialized knowledge that the employee can not apply to any other company is therefore not enough.


The employee may not be tied to the company for an inappropriate period of time. However, a commitment period of up to six months with a training period of up to one month would be permissible. The maximum limit is a commitment period of five years with a training period of two years. Deviations are possible if, for example, the employee draws particular advantages from the training.

The repayment amount must not be higher than the actual training costs and must be reduced by the percentage of employment per year of service. This percentage, as well as the type and basis of calculation of any amounts to be paid, must also be included in the repayment agreement, as decided by the Nuremberg Regional Labor Court (judgment of 20.08.2014, ref .: 4 Sa 96/14). The exact repayment amount, on the other hand, does not need to be quoted – however, the employee must be able to identify the approximate costs expected from repayment.

The repayment obligation must not be linked to any departure of the employee from the company, but explicitly only to a dismissal caused by the employee or indebtedness or an interruption of further education or training initiated by him.

A breach of these requirements usually leads to the ineffectiveness of the agreement. The employer can then demand no reimbursement from his former employee.

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