Apprenticeship and matriculation
Vocational matriculation examination
The introduction of a vocational matriculation examination (Berufsreifeprüfung) enables young people to combine the apprenticeship and upper-secondary school leaving examinations. This examination permits unrestricted access to courses of study at Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences, as well as at post-secondary colleges and other Austrian training institutions which require this school-leaving certificate.
The vocational matriculation examination is composed of four examinations:
- Living foreign language
- Examination in special discipline (i.e. the training field of the candidate in question).
Apprentices attend special courses to prepare themselves for the vocational matriculation examination. These courses are offered by various providers, such as WIFI, bfi, adult education institutes, vocational training schools or various types of upper-secondary schools (e.g. academic secondary schools – AHS, business schools – HAK, secondary colleges for engineering – HTL, secondary colleges for service industries – HLW). Students may also sit for the component examinations referred to above in such courses. Three of the four examinations may be taken during apprenticeship training. However, apprentices must wait until their 19th birthday to take the last examination in the given training field.
Those candidates who attend preparatory courses for the vocational matriculation examination during an ongoing apprenticeship may have their apprenticeships extended for a period equivalent to the period of time spent at (vocational) school, i.e. usually six months.
A new subsidy programme enables apprentices to attend these preparatory courses and examinations throughout Austria free of charge.
Apprenticeship following matriculation examination – reduced period of apprenticeship for graduates of upper secondary school
Graduates of academic secondary schools (AHS) or secondary technical or vocational colleges (BHS) may complete their apprenticeships as a form of additional on-the-job training within a comparatively short period of time. For graduates of upper secondary schools, graduates of secondary technical or vocational schools (BMS), as well as those young people who have already completed an apprenticeship in another apprenticed trade, an apprenticeship that would normally last three years or more may be reduced by one year. For this purpose, and in order to meet this special group’s needs, condensed versions of the accompanying courses at vocational training schools are offered.