The proportion of German companies taking on refugees for training purposes rose to 16 per cent from 14 per cent last year, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said on Thursday.

Some 25,000 refugees are currently undergoing training in a business registered with the association, according to a DIHK survey. The number rises to 44,000 when skilled trades are taken into account.

The refugee numbers are still low, compared to the overall total of 1.3 million undergoing skills training in Germany.

According to the DIHK, businesses in the hospitality, construction and transport sectors are leading the way in training refugees.

Releasing the figures in Berlin, DIHK chief executive Achim Dercks said that motivation levels among the refugees were high. But he cautioned that knowledge of German remained an issue.

“Companies’ involvement in training must be complemented by language lessons and continuing supervision as far as possible in the transition to a training course,” Dercks said.

More generally, the DIHK believes that a declining trend in training contracts has come to an end, despite demographic factors and a preference for academic study among young Germans.

While the number of training contracts was stable, German business was still having difficulty in filling all its training vacancies, he said.

Trade schools needed urgent modernization, particularly with regard to the digital economy, with the DIHK seeing the need for investment of 2.5 billion euros (2.8 billion dollars) in trade schools, Dercks said.


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