Increasing the attractiveness of dual education for skilled crafts and trades in the Alpine Space


Despite the high youth unemployment in some Alpine countries (up to 34,7% in Italy in 2017), the SMEs in the field of crafts and trade find it increasingly difficult to hire new apprentices. However, dual education has the potential to address difficulties in the transition phase from education to work, to improve the skills supply and to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. DuALPlus developed innovative ways to increase the appeal of dual education for crafts and trade. For instance, a multilingual career guidance toolbox supports organisations, coaches and trainers who offer career guidance for young people.


  • 2014 – 2020
  • Innovative
  • Improve the framework conditions for innovation in the Alpine space
    • Group 3: To improve the adequacy of labour market, education and training in strategic sectors
  • 04/2018
  • 09/2021
  • 2.229.692 EUR
  • 1.791.993 EUR


Regional Development Vorarlberg eGen (Lead partner)
  • Lead partner
  • Austria
  • Vorarlberg
  • Alberschwende
    New Design University Privatuniversität GesmbH
    • Austria
    • NiederAustria
    • St. Pölten
        Technical University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim
        • Germany
        • Oberbayern
        • Rosenheim
            Chamber of Trade & Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria
            • Germany
            • Oberbayern
            • München
                Autonomous Province of Trento
                • Italy
                • Provincia Autonoma di Trento
                • Trento
                    lvh-Education and Service cooperation
                    • Italy
                    • Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen
                    • Bozen
                        Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia
                        • Slovenia
                        • Zahodna Slovenia
                        • Ljubljana
                            Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Chamber of Crafts
                            • France
                            • Rhône-Alpes
                            • Lyon
                                Valais School of Art
                                • Switzerland
                                • Région lémanique
                                • Sierre
                                    • 47.450288959.83085872426787
                                    • 48.1874446515.619565350466845
                                    • 47.867467812.1072215
                                    • 48.143023311.5708434
                                    • 46.070647311.1196289
                                    • 46.495360511.3704389
                                    • 46.066070214.4932563
                                    • 45.74000394.8174299
                                    • 46.29225227.5323195


                                    • The DualEducationFinder platform

                                      A multilingual online career guidance toolbox
                                      The DualEducationFinder is a multilingual online platform that provides information about dual education in the Alpine Space in English, French, German, Italian and Slovenian. It is designed to support in-company trainers, SME managers, coaches and lecturers/teachers with answers to questions related to dual education. The topics covered are vocational career guidance, qualification of trainers and the permeability of educational systems. As a career guidance toolbox, the platform intends to offer assistance in the career guidance phase and help the target groups to find out about related ongoing measures. In this way, increasingly targeted career guidance can take place. It provides information and practically oriented proposals for enhancing the image and value of dual education and training, for improving the skills of in-company trainers and for promoting the quality of dual education. It also introduces examples of best practice in terms of training modules for in-company trainers and innovative training formats developed as part of the DuALPlus project. Furthermore, since promoting permeability is part of ensuring excellence and increasing the attractiveness of dual education in the Alpine Space, the DualEducationFinder shows how permeability is developing in different regions, describes examples of best practice and outlines policy proposals to enhance permeability. The platform supports four types of users: in-company trainers, SME managers, coaches and lecturers/teachers. For each user type, a list of relevant questions related to dual education regarding specific regions was developed. In this way, the toolbox links each question to an abstract enquiry (e.g., apprenticeship search, comprehensive career guidance) from the perspective of a given user. The same principle applies to the answers to user enquiries. The career guidance measures (e.g. careers counselling measures) are presented both in terms of types (e.g. events, initiatives) and specific measures for each region. One or more answers are assigned to each enquiry and displayed as soon as a question or given keyword is searched for. Furthermore, a list of concrete examples of the given type of measure is shown with a title and a link, taking into account the selected region. The platform's homepage contains a menu bar: the "ABOUT" section includes a short description of the platform, the “INFOPOOL” section presents information with a classic structure, again sorted from the perspective of the four types of users. The "DOWNLOADS" section offers reports and documents giving in-depth information on the different topics presented in the DualEducationFinder.

                                    • Handbook on Innovative Practices in Dual Education

                                      A handbook describing the results and recommendations
                                      Improving educational systems requires rethinking what teachers do each day and this is particularly true with regard to dual education. Dual education systems are indeed complex systems, within which heterogeneous players need to interact and coordinate their activities to guarantee the best possible learning experience. The DuALPlus project represented a good opportunity to study the key factors in bringing innovation and quality to dual education. The Handbook is the result of this study. It outlines the key results and evaluation of the research, as well as the project activities and examples of best practice. The Handbook comprises six chapters: the first introduces the project, its objectives and outputs; the second presents an overview of dual education systems in the six partner countries to provide a better contextual understanding; the three subsequent chapters present the key parts of the study, while the last chapter draws some final conclusions. Three central chapters represent the core of the document: Chapter 3 reports on the results and recommendations resulting from need assessment/analysis addressed to SME representatives and aimed at investigating the key factors needed to ensure high-quality training for apprentices; Chapter 4 gives examples of best practice for innovative training activities and programmes in the EU, as well as in the nine partner regions; Chapter 5 is about improving existing training formats, with new programmes developed and partly already tested and evaluated by six of the project partners during the project lifetime. Indeed, we believe strongly that there is no innovation without experimentation. This chapter therefore ends with a proposal for an innovative tutor training programme, based partly on the aforementioned experimentation and corresponding to the current needs of potential apprentices, SMEs and the labour market. Finally, the Handbook concludes with a summary of recommendations for innovative practices in dual education and includes an Annex outlining regional best practices and training formats in German, Italian, Slovenian and French.

                                    • Catalogue of Modules Facilitating Permeability in Higher Education

                                      The catalogue of modules describes preparation courses
                                      The catalogue of modules describes six courses that provide additional assistance and training opportunities for students without formal matriculation qualifications (e.g. master craftsmen, alternative educational pathway students), foreign (EU) students or young workers who wish to upgrade their skills. All the courses were developed and implemented by university teachers according to the process described in Chapter 6. The modules are divided into two main categories. PREPARATORY COURSES Three bridging courses designed to allow students to explore foundational knowledge related to their study course and get used to university study before starting a degree. This could include extending their language skills or exploration of a field of study (e.g. design). ADVANCED COURSES Three higher education courses were developed to allow young workers to acquire relevant skills and knowledge for their career, using further qualification as a competitive advantage and promoting lifelong learning. With the newly acquired knowledge, participants expand their skills and increase their attractiveness on the job market, e.g. in entrepreneurship or motion design. The catalogue is available in English and German language.

                                    • Policy Suggestions for more Permeability of Dual Education in the Alpine Space

                                      The Policy Suggestions provide an overview of the needs of practitioners for changes in the education system.
                                      Policy makers and stakeholders at national and EU level have recognised the important role of dual vocational education and training (VET) in ensuring a smooth transition to work and in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. However, countries in the Alpine Space are starting from very different positions. Even well-established dual education systems face challenges such as attracting employers, inclusion of marginalised groups, demographic change and the transformation of work due to increasing digitalisation. These national and transnational needs were analysed using participatory processes including regional co-design workshops together with VET stakeholders. The policy suggestions formulated are thus intended to provide an overview of practitioners’ needs for changes in the education system through policy, with regard to better permeability. Although the education systems of the regions are very different, the policy suggestions developed concern topics that are both very varied and clearly relevant in several regions. A major issue that concerns almost all regions relates to information regarding the permeability of education systems, and dual education in particular. Therefore, measures for better and earlier involvement and information for parents are proposed, in addition to centralised online career guidance platforms. Topics that are specifically relevant in the respective regions include the funding of dual education, the image and value of dual education, possibilities for transition between special educational institutions and targeted support for talent. The policy suggestions report is available in English, German, French, Italian and Slovene language.