Business Training (VT) is a 2-year scheme for young people looking to gain qualifications for entry into the job market. Developed in Germany and based on the German "Dual System", the students divide their work into practical training within a company (3.5 days per week) and attending theoretical classes (1.5 days per week). The theoretical classes are taught by specifically trained teachers at the German Swiss International School (GSIS) Hong Kong.

It this "Dual System": the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GIC) and the schoolwork together in close cooperation with the training companies. They jointly discuss and decide on the curriculum. The chamber conducts the whole traineeship and the final examination as well.

The basic curriculum for the traineeship - the "KMK-Rahmenlehrplan" - is issued in Germany and each Bundesland decides independently on its own "Lehrplan".

The Business College is one department of GSIS. Classes are held at GSIS's Pok Fu Lam Campus, 162 Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong.

The department was established in the Mid-Eighties; in the first years the course was conducted by a local teacher and concentrated on the syllabus for "Bürokaufmann" training. Later the focus of the traineeship was shifted to "Groß- und Außenhandelskaufmann" or "Wholesale and Foreign Trade" (with emphasis on “Wholesale Business”).

Since 1994, the Head of the Vocational Training Department has been sent by the German government.

Until 2002 the curriculum and the written examinations in Hong Kong were exactly the same as it is in Nordrhein-Westfalen. There were only some minor deviations in the oral exams and in the "Prüfungsordnung".

In the school year 2002/2003 we decided to shift the focus of the traineeship to "Foreign Trade" and the business environment in Hong Kong and in China. We introduced "Chinese Studies" as a new subject and established "Logistics and Transport Management" as a second stream.

The German "KMK-Rahmenlehrplan" is still the basis of the curriculum in Hong Kong, but it has been adjusted to meet the needs of the companies involved.

The Business College is an integral part of GSIS and is an independent department within the German Stream.

Ulrich Weghoff is the Principal of GSIS. He is a non-voting member of the BCC and gives any support needed.

The Head of Business College is responsible for the theoretical training and he teaches most of the business-oriented subjects. In this school year, Business Administration, Accounting, English, Mandarin, Politics and Chinese Studies are all being taught by regular teachers from GSIS.

Remuneration to trainees from the training company:

HK$ 8,000.00 per month (1st Year Trainees)
HK$ 9,000.00 per month (2nd Year Trainees)

School Fees: HK$ 45,000 per year (paid by the trainees)
Contribution to GIC: HK$ 8,400 per year (paid by the companies)

The students' week usually starts on Monday and ends on Friday. They have to attend school on 1.5 days, which means on the remaining 3.5 days they will have to work in their respective training companies. During school holidays the trainees work 5 days at their respective training company.

The lessons are taught in German, written test papers of the final examination as well as written tests within the classroom are in German, however trainees have the choice to answer in English.

The minimum German language proficiency for the trainees is to be able to read German and to follow a German discussion.

Theoretical lessons include practical experience, and the training within the company is based on a training plan, which has to be sent to GIC for approval at the beginning of the apprenticeship.

Most of the trainees come from Germany with the German Abitur, some with Mittlere Reife. For many it is their first time to living and working in East Asia.

A few of the trainees join from GSIS in Hong Kong or other German schools in the region. Some move to Hong Kong with their parents, and we also have Hong Kong Chinese students who come from one of the Hong Kong Universities with a bachelor degree.

The average student is aged 20 to 22.

Most of the trainees live on their own in a small apartment or in a shared flat: on Lamma Island, in Kowloon, in Wan Chai, in the Mid-Levels, in Yuen Long, in the Western District or other places where accommodation is cheap and there is reliable transportation. Some trainees live with their parents.

Rental is not subsidised by the companies, so students need to be financially supported by the family. The GIC can assist in finding suitable accommodation.

Monthly remuneration amounts to HK$ 8,000 in the first year, and HK$ 9,000 for the second year respectively. The salary does not equate with the cost of living, thus additional financial support (e.g. by the parents) is necessary. The trainees have to pay 5 % to the MPF.