Youth Vocational Assistance

Junges Mädchen drapiert ein Kleid aus Zeitung an einer Puppe

Youth vocational assistance is a field of activity of youth social work. It works at the intersection of youth welfare, education and training and the world of work and contributes to the social and vocational integration of young people into work life.

Whom is youth vocational assistance addressed to?

For young people

Youth vocational assistance is on a case-by-case basis and is therefore flexible. It is aimed at young people with an increased need for support, usually between the ages of 16 and 21 (at the beginning of the service offering). The problems and deficits are recognised as so serious that they require increased individual social work assistance to compensate for or overcome them.

Holistic approach

The Child and Youth Welfare Act forms the legal basis for youth vocational assistance. The goals of youth vocational assistance therefore go far beyond mere integration into everyday work. They pursue a very complex and holistic approach that takes into account the personality of the young person and includes much more than overcoming material need for assistance or avoiding unemployment.

What the youth vocational assistance offers?

Youth vocational assistance is provided in five forms, either independently or in combination with other services and financed by the Berlin district youth welfare offices after determining the individual need for assistance in advance:

Outpatient social work support and care

This flexibly manageable outpatient support programme is aimed at adolescents and young adults whose life situation at the transition from school to work is characterised by difficult family relationships and social disadvantages. They should be supported in social integration and in leading an independent lifestyle.

It is an assistance instrument that provides important support for young people and young adults both before the start of a semi-inpatient programme (e.g., vocational orientation or preparation) or after an intervention (e.g., after a social work supported training at the transition to starting work).

Social work supported vocational orientation

In the transition from school to work, there are also programmes that support young people through to their general school leaving certificate. Vocational orientation has two sides: young people ought to get to know their own interests, wishes and skills. On the other hand, they should know the requirements of the world of work so that they can orientate themselves to it.

Vocational orientation can be defined as the process of convergence and coordination between these two sides. In this lifelong process, the individual must repeatedly reflect on their subjective requirements and relate them to the objective requirements.

Vocational orientation programmes enable young people to master this process. For this reason, many stakeholders and institutions are involved in the process of vocational orientation: the young people themselves and their parents, schools, companies and associations, career counselling, specialists for skill assessment and individual support as well as institutions from the social environment, if necessary, and specialist departments that are involved in individual cases.

Social work supported vocational preparation including qualification

Vocational preparation aims to convey the prerequisites for acquiring vocational skills and thus to introduce vocational training in a recognised skilled occupation.

It makes it easier for young people, who in the conventional sense are not yet ready for training after leaving general education school, to enter a career by supporting a decision to choose a career that has not yet been made and creating the prerequisites for successfully starting vocational training. Vocational preparation measures are offered by youth welfare organisations, for example in the form of youth workshops or company integration projects.

In Berlin there are currently several company-integrated qualification projects that support young people in orienting themselves vocationally, looking for a training position, completing and successfully completing an apprenticeship and then finding a job. These qualification projects enable teaching and learning where company work actually takes place and where adolescents and young people can actually experience it.

Social work supported vocational training as an offering outside of or in cooperation with companies

Socially oriented vocational training combines elements of vocational education with elements of social work. This holistic approach incorporates into the support social learning processes as a useful and necessary supplement to vocational learning. The training is considered as part of personal development. Individual life history and needs are taken into account and feed into the training. A skills approach and practical learning are characteristics of socially oriented vocational training.


The contacts for youth welfare services are basically the Berlin youth welfare offices or the counselling facilities located in the district, which are operated partly by the local youth welfare offices and partly by independent organisations.

The increased need for support for the young person will be identified in conversation, if necessary. This level of support will make individually designed outpatient or partially inpatient services of youth vocational assistance necessary. The decision on the award of services and their approval and financing always rests with the youth welfare office based on an assistance plan procedure.