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Indicators and Drivers of Youth Unemployment.

Traditionally, trade unions and employers’ associations have been very important in various fields of labor market and social policy. Today this still holds true even though the number of members in unions has decreased since German reunification. In the field of educational policy, there are three large unions and associations that represent the collective interests of teachers and other servants at schools. While the Trade Union of Education and Science (“Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft”) promotes a shift from the federal educational policy towards a centralistic one as well as comprehensive instead of multi-tracked schooling, in contrast, the German Teachers Federation (“Deutsche Lehrerverband”) defends the multi-tracked school system as well as the federal education system. The Federation for Education and Training (“Verband Bildung und Erziehung”) favors regionally different solutions in terms of school structure but opposes the reduction of school years in the German educational system (Hepp, 2013). The interests of civil servants in the tertiary education system are primarily represented by the United Services Union (“Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft”). Furthermore, apprentices can join the trade unions that represent the sectors in which they are working, e.g., the “Industriegewerkschaft Metall” for the metal industry. Analogically, the same is true for the employers of apprentices, which can join the relevant employers’ associations. However, the membership in the regional chambers of commerce is compulsory for all firms except for freelancers, agricultural enterprises and craft businesses. The chambers of commerce are especially important for apprentices as they are in charge of the examination proceedings of the vocational training. Moreover, the chambers monitor the firms and give advice to trainees in matters of the apprenticeship (DIHK, 2014). In the field of ALMPs, the social partners have an important role as they influence the political process and legislation. At the national level, the interests of the trade unions are bundled in the Confederation of German Trade Unions (“Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund”), while the interests of the employers are represented by the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (“Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände”) and the Federal Association of German Industry (“Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie”). Moreover, employer and employee representatives together make up two thirds of the supervising board (“Verwaltungsrat”), which controls and advises the Federal Employment Agency in terms of ALMPs (Obermeier / Oschmiansky 2014). Additionally, the social partners are strongly involved in the set-up of the vocational training regulations (“Ausbildungsordnungen”). Both unions and employers’ associations can propose the introduction of new training occupations or change the regulations of existing ones. Under consideration of the advice of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, the BMAS may then grant official recognition of the new or changed apprenticeship (§ 4 BBiG).