The dual education system, which combines theoretical and practical teaching, is applied in preparing for careers requiring apprentice training as well as in higher vocational schools. Curriculum and training courses are tailored to the requirements of the business world. Apprentices are professionally trained in companies or gain on-the-job experience. The bottom line results of research and development activities are exploited in a practice-oriented manner within the framework of joint projects carried out by schools working together with the business community, e.g. in theses, dissertations or student enterprises.
This two-pronged approach is considered to be exemplary throughout Europe. Foreign investors highly value the specialized skills and the sound, fundamental know-how of Austrian employees.
Austria boasts a comprehensive network of tertiary educational institutions. This includes a total of 21 universities of applied sciences, 22 public universities and 13 private universities. The universities of applied sciences, which offer 660 different courses of study, are particularly oriented to the requirements of the business community and maintain intensive contacts with the industrial sector. About half of the study programs offered by universities of applied sciences comprise extra-occupational studies.
Career-oriented nature of the educational system
In addition to its practice-oriented approach, the Austrian educational system considers specialization to be a top priority. Students continually have the opportunity to gain a high level of specialized know-how, whether in commercial or technical secondary schools or colleges. For example, the College for Mechanical Engineering offers more than ten different specialized study programs.