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Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier | FOREWORDS 5 I nternational cooperation in the field of vocational training is becoming ever more important. Due to demographic change, many industrial countries are struggling with a dramatic decline in their supply of skilled workers, whilst in other parts of the world, young people are looking for training opportunities and professional prospects. German companies abroad also need well-qualified staff. Germany is sought-after as a partner when it comes to vocational education. On my trips, our partners often ask me about our system of dual vocational training. The German system has developed into a veritable “made in Germany” export hit! Germany’s dual system of vocational training is unique in its design and has been tried and tested over many years. State, business and social partners work in close coopera- tion to continually improve this training model, geared to the real needs of the economy. This enables it to make a significant contribution to guaranteeing that the need for skilled workers can be met and thus to securing our country’s high level of competitiveness. Work-based learning ensures that interpersonal skills as well as the ability to assume responsibility and make decisions are developed from day one. The financial and economic crisis of recent years has made clearer the importance of sustainable and long-term investment in the education of younger generations. Alongside the important contribution it makes to the fight against youth unemployment and the shortage of skilled labour, thorough vocational training plays an important role in struc- tural, social and economic development. The advantages of the dual system have also aroused our partners’ curiosity. The Ger- man missions abroad are often the initial point of contact for enquiries regarding educa- tion and, wherever appropriate, they can help education firms find a way into the market. The Federal Foreign Office sees itself as a mediator between companies, young people, interested states and German education providers. Together, we want to advance the development of the education sector across the globe. With their products and services in the field of education, German companies can make an important contribution to sustainable economic development all around the world. The Didacta Export Catalogue serves as an important source of information in this regard. Have a look and see the innovation and quality of German educational products and services for yourself. Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Credits:BMWi;öhler GERMANY’S DUAL SYSTEM AS A GUARANTEE OF ECONOMIC SUCCESS