Writing a training certificate: compulsory or optional? | staff


At the end of their vocational training, trainees are entitled to a job reference. A distinction must be made between simple and qualified certificates. In addition, further questions – in addition to a job reference – must be taken into account when taking on after the end of training.

There are some questions that companies should answer after the end of their training and before issuing a job reference: Is issuing a training certificate compulsory or optional for trainers? What does a qualified and a simple job reference look like? What do you have to consider with a job reference when you drop out of training?

ยง 16 BBiG: Right to a training certificate

With the end of the vocational training relationship, the trainee has a Entitlement to a simple or, if desired, to a qualified certificate. The The legal basis can be found in Section 16 of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG)which reads as follows: “Trainers have to issue the trainees with a written certificate upon termination of the vocational training relationship.”

Simple or qualified training certificate: content

The simple certificate must provide information about the type, duration and goal of the vocational training, the acquired professional skills and knowledge. A qualified certificate should also contain statements on the behavior and performance of the trainee during the training.

The training certificate must be issued in writing; the electronic form is excluded (Section 16 (1) sentence 2 BBiG). The other requirements that the certificate must meet depend on the usual requirements for job references. The standards applied by the case law of the labor courts, in particular the Federal Labor Court (BAG), are transferrable.

Job reference: training terminated

The entitlement to a certificate also applies if the trainee leaves the company prematurely during their training. Employers should therefore make a sensible note of permanent assessments during the training period, as otherwise it is not possible to create a well-founded certificate. Even if the trainee successfully completes the training and is taken on by the former training company in a regular employment relationship, the certificate must always be issued upon termination of the vocational training relationship.

Takeover of the trainee after the training

Employers who regularly assess their trainees have the opportunity to identify negative trends at an early stage and take countermeasures. In this way, it is also possible to assess at an early stage whether taking on the trainee is an option. There is no legal obligation to take over. The takeover can only be agreed six months before the end of an apprenticeship. If an agreement is made beforehand, this agreement is not valid.

Takeover of the trainee: probationary period agreement or protection against dismissal

If the trainee is taken on after completing an apprenticeship, it is legally permissible to agree on a fixed-term contract or a new probationary period. If the takeover takes place immediately after the end of the apprenticeship, the vacation entitlement of the former trainee is retained. In this regard, the training relationship and the employment relationship are to be viewed as a unit. Former trainees are also protected against dismissal in the event of a transfer from the training relationship. This also applies to the right to continued payment in the event of illness. Here, too, both employment relationships are to be viewed as a unit and the employer’s obligation to continue paying wages remains uninterrupted.

Caution: Unintentional takeover of the trainee

According to Section 78a of the Works Constitution Act, the employer must take on members of the youth and trainee representation if this can be expected of him.

Employers should also ensure that they do not continue to employ trainees after passing the final examination beyond the contractually agreed end of training if they do not want to take on these. If the employer continues to employ his trainee after passing the final examination, it is generally accepted that this action implicitly shows that he wants to take him on and thus justifies one permanent contract of employment.

You can read everything else about remuneration, working hours, training contracts, compulsory insurance, salary extras and the termination of trainees in our top topic “Employing trainees with legal certainty”.

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