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German Government Launches Apprenticeship Initiative

The German government launched its "Apprenticeship Offensive 2004" on Friday with German Minister for Education and Research Edelgard Bulmahn saying the growth areas of microsystems technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology could provide badly-needed apprenticeships to high school graduates. The government offensive is aimed particularly at areas where the difference between the number of apprenticeships available and local demand is the highest. Also in the initiative's sights will be regions where the reduction in the number of apprenticeships has exceeded the national average. Bulmahn underlined the urgency of the situation, referring to the growing demand for skilled workers and technicians by saying, "The experts have all agreed that, without effective efforts in the area of training, by the year 2015, in the age group 35 to 45, we will have a shortage of 3.5 million skilled workers."