The IHK NRW released an Azubi FAQ and I thought to make it available to you in English. You can find the original here.
What is a Berichtheft? Ausbildungsnachweis?
The Berichtheft is nowadays called the Ausbildungsnachweis. It is a form of journal that contains information on what you learnt in the Berufschule and what you learnt at work. It should be updated at least weekly. It doesn’t need to be detailed, it only requires the key words on what was done. Please note that you have to do it well, failure to which it won’t be allowed to your final exam. Make it a point to fill it in regularly.
How many hours should an Azubi work?
This depends on the Tarif contract, the industry regulations and the age of the Azubi. Azubis younger than 18 years should work a maximum of 40 hours a week. However, the contract stipulations differ greatly, so it is best to check your contract on the working hours specified.
Does an Azubi have to work before or after attending the Berufschule?
If your lessons at the Berufschule start before 9am, then you are not allowed to go to work before that class.
Time spent in school and on the drive to school are calculated as working hours and should therefore not be reworked.
For school days that are longer than 5 hours, Azubis below 18 years of age get a free day in the week.
How many vacation days does an Azubi have?
This depends on your contract but this also depends on your age. For adult azubis (older than 18 years) you get 24-30 days. Azubis below 18 years of age get at least 25days while those below 16 years get at least 30 days.
Vacation days are to be used solely for rest and it is therefore not allowed to work during those days. Erwerbsarbeit which means working for extra pay isn’t allowed during vacation days.
What should one know about the Probation Period (Probezeit)?
This is a form of reflection time. It lasts at least one month and at most three months. You and your employer should use this time to find out whether you can work together harmoniously and whether this was the correct career choice for you.
If within this time you or your employer feel like this would not work, you are allowed to resign without giving any reasons.
Azubis should within this period receive their training allowance (Ausbildungsvergütung).
Shortening your Ausbildung period and challenges during your Ausbildung
Who helps when you have challenges during your Ausbildung?
You can always contact your supervisor at work, your teachers at the Berufschule or someone you trust. However, you also have the option to get in touch with the Ausbildungsberater at the IHK in your area.
What should one do if you feel over or under worked?
You feel underworked, then you have the possibility to shorten your Ausbildung and graduate faster than planned. You may also take up extra classes offered by the IHK to improve your capabilities
If you are overworked, you have the possibility to talk to your teachers and supervisor(s) on how best to delegate your duties. You may also look into the “ausbildungsbegleitenden Hilfen (abH)“ offered by the Arbeitsamt. Some IHKs also offer Nachhilfe for Azubis.
Who decides whether it is possible to shorten yourAusbildung? (Allowing you to graduate faster?)
Your employer has to agree to shorten your Ausbildung period, this only happens if your employer believes that it is possible for you to achieve the required qualification within a shorter period of time. Your employer may decide to shorten your Ausbildung period right at the beginning or you may request for it later on during your Ausbildung.
Another possibility is the early admission tothe final exam, if you show above-average performance at work and in school during your Ausbildung. The early admission to the examination (6 months before the end of the Ausbildung contract) can be applied for at your IHK.
Can you be tested in topics that were not handled in school or at work?
The questions presented in the exams should be based on the Ausbildungsrahmenplan (for the betriebliche Ausbildung) and the curriculum of the Berufschule.
You can always check into the Ausbildungsordnung to find out what the whole Ausbildung handles.
Who registers you for exams?
Your employer registers you for the examinations both the Zwischenprüfung and the Abschlussprüfung.
Why does the IHK organise the exams and not the employers or the Berufschule?
This is to ensure that the exams are neutral and only an independent organisation can do that.
Who sets the exams?
The written exams are set by the „Aufgabenerstellungsausschüssen“ while the oral and practical exams are set by the local Prüfungsausschuss. Both Ausschüsse are made up of employees, employers and teachers from that field of expertise.
Are grades from the Berufschule taken into account in the final Exam?
No. However they do play a role when one is applying for a job.
The final exam tests your understanding of all the material taught during the Ausbildung.
What happens after the final Exam?
You receive certificates from the IHK, your employer as well as from the Berufschule. Thereafter you can start looking for a job.
Howver, this should not be the end of your learning experience and you should consider taking part in further training courses regularly to refresh your knowledge and also to learn something new.