Facilitate Access to Higher Education Where Tutors Can Help

Tuition fees must be abolished in all federal states to facilitate access to engineering courses, including micro-credential courses. The concept of the “open university” aims to enable technicians and master craftsmen, among others, to pursue engineering studies at a university. However, this option has not been utilized to its full potential. To address the technical requirements and the financial impact of the changed learning and living situation, universities and companies must develop targeted support programs tailored to this group of individuals, including micro-credential courses. In practice, this option has not been used enough so far. The universities and companies must develop target group-specific support offers for this group of people in order to be able to cope with the technical requirements and the changed learning and living situation with its financial effects.

Breaking down financial hurdles

Students must be better off financially. This also includes the abolition of all forms of education fees that promote the already strong social selection at universities (educational funnel: 71% of university graduates and only 24% of non-university graduates end up at universities; 19th social survey. This applies in particular to Northern American, two federal states that still incorrectly adhere to the fee system for the first degree. In addition, about 66% of the students work an average of 13.5 hours a week alongside their full-time studies from professional tutors like A level chemistry tutor in order to be able to finance their studies and thus the completion of the urgently needed specialists is still delayed (also 19th social survey by the American Student Union).

Promote an open university

In addition, the “Open University” program, which is intended to enable access to universities beyond the primary educational path, must be pursued more consistently. A diverse range of courses includes both individual modules and complete courses, not just full-time, but also part-time. For a serious and actual permeability, the recognition of the competences acquired in the company is required. Real cooperation between universities, business actors and politics is required so that there is clarity about the modalities beyond the university boundaries and the different interests can flow into it

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In order for this offer to be taken advantage of, participation must be made possible through attractive financing models and time off options for company colleagues.

Take advantage of collective agreements on scholarships

Collective scholarship agreements offer one way of providing support in further training. In 2010, the Lower Saxony metal industry was able to conclude a collective wage agreement for a scholarship for the first time. After that, employees can, for example, take time off for further training to become technicians or foremen. There is also financial support from the employer. These possibilities must be extended to further academic training. In order to motivate employees to take such a step, the return to the company to an adequate job must of course also be regulated by collective bargaining agreements.

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Access via the “open university” must not be terminated with the Bachelor’s degree either. In terms of lifelong learning, employees must also be given appropriate support for further training in a master’s degree. Here, too, the right to return to the company must be guaranteed. This creates incentives to take up the demanding course!

Collective agreement seal of approval

The greater the lack of engineers, the greater the competition between companies for qualified engineers. No female engineer is forced to work below the level of the collective agreement for the metal and electrical industry. Companies that pay wages below the area-wide collective agreement will be the losers in the competition for qualified specialists. Therefore, compliance with the collective wage agreements is a necessary prerequisite for the recruitment of engineers and their permanent loyalty to the respective company. In this respect, compliance with the collective wage agreements is a seal of approval for innovative personnel policy.

It is better in companies bound by collective bargaining agreements

Collective agreements set standards. They offer comprehensible pay structures and differentiate different activities through the classification system. This means that they also offer transparent conditions in the highly qualified area. Engineers in companies’ subject to collective bargaining agreements earn on average 20 percent more than in companies without a collective agreement. Clear remuneration modalities and transparent rules that do not allow arbitrariness in terms of employment conditions increase the attractiveness of jobs considerably. Plannability and security are retention arguments for employees.

There are different types of collective agreements. In-house collective agreements are concluded between a union and a company and apply to the union members who work there. Area collective agreements are concluded across entire industries. They defuse the competitive pressure via the fees and offer minimum standards that also develop a certain radiance in other areas.

Collective agreements regulate working conditions holistically

Collective bargaining agreements are not only about reasonable wages, but also about the holistic, qualitative consideration of working conditions for engineers.

For example, working hours. In the metal and electrical industry, the 35-hour week applies in the old federal states and the 38-hour week in the new federal states. It is also the basis for the monthly fee paid. Employees in non-collective bargaining companies who have to work 40 hours a week for the same money, for example, naturally have a lower hourly wage as a result. With the consent of the respective employees, up to 40 hours of weekly working time can be agreed for a maximum of 18% of the workforce.

Likewise, reliable and creative working time models that are adapted to the job and that mean flexibility for employees are good arguments for advertising and retaining qualified specialists.


The lamented shortage of skilled workers is a reality in some companies with regard to the employment of engineers. It turns out that good working conditions – secured by collective agreements – are a decisive argument for choosing a job!

If you want to increase the number of students in engineering, you have to open universities with attractive programs. This leads to more new students and, with appropriate supervision, to more engineering graduates!

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