+49 4101 84340-0 info@bs-pinneberg.de


In 1873 twenty citizens and trades people, founded a private vocational school in the city of Pinneberg. It was located in the city centre, and is still there today. It started with 71 students serving company apprenticeships. Lessons were attended voluntarily for one hour every evening from Monday to Saturday, and for 2 hours on Sunday afternoons, covering not only subjects like German language (reading and writing), maths, history and geography, but also job-related techniques such as constructional drawing. Engineering and mechanics were added later.

In 1891 attending the vocational college became compulsory for Pinneberg apprentices. Subjects like accounting and business correspondence were added to the curriculum, and the school converted now to public administration. The number of students and subjects increased significantly over the following decades, leading to additional locations for vocational training opening in smaller villages and towns in the Pinneberg County.

After World War II vocational training was re-structured, and responsibility shifted from the city to the county of Pinneberg, while student numbers increased dramatically to 6000 at times. As the original Pinneberg location had only 8 classrooms by the late forties, lessons were being held in nearly a dozen different places across the county, and from 1954 to 1995 lessons were even held on the North Sea island of Helgoland.

Increasing specialization in trade and business led to re-centralization. Since the nineties two independent colleges cover vocational training in the Pinneberg County: our “Berufliche Schule des Kreises Pinneberg in Pinneberg” and another one in Elmshorn. Our college is still located where it started more than 125 years ago: in the heart of Pinneberg´s city.

The Berufliche Schule Pinneberg is one of 34 state-run vocational colleges in the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein. Education at a state-run school is free for all students. This includes tuition, books, exams, etc.

According to the German Constitution all matters of school education are the independent responsibility of the 16 federal states. Therefore, each federal state acts in correspondence with its own school law and bears the costs. The Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein bears the personnel cost for all teachers. The examining board for the trainee teachers is a sub-department of the Federal State.

The Pinneberg County bears the personnel cost for most of the additional staff. It is also in charge of building and maintaining the school facilities and funding teaching resources like books, software, etc. 

The main departments are detailed above. The largest one, the department for business and administration, is divided into three sub-departments according to the special professions they cater for. Second comes the department for technical trades. The other segments show the departments for medical assistance, for special curricula to prepare students for dual vocational training, for vocational full-time training to achieve a higher secondary degree and for social services.

For further details please have a look at our organigram. It also shows that many teachers have taken over additional general tasks like e. g. quality management or data security


The main departments are detailed above. The largest one, the department for business and administration, is divided into three sub-departments according to the special professions they cater for. Second comes the department for technical trades. The other segments show the departments for medical assistance, for special curricula to prepare students for dual vocational training, for vocational full-time training to achieve a higher secondary degree and for social services.

For further details please have a look at our organigram. It also shows that many teachers have taken over additional general tasks like e. g. quality management or data security.

Approximately 170 fully qualified teachers work at the Berufliche Schule Pinneberg, most of them in the Business and Administration Department. In order to fully qualify each teacher usually studies for 5-6 years at university two subjects, e. g. economics and English, plus educational science. Afterwards a 1.5-year practical preparatory training at a vocational college must be completed. The Berufliche Schule offers this preparatory service to roughly a dozen trainee teachers, who are assisted by two senior members of staff each and attend additional seminars at other vocational colleges throughout the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Many members of staff have served an apprenticeship / traineeship themselves for hands-on job experience before qualifying as a teacher.

All teaching staff are employed by the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein. Most senior employees are “Beamte”, which means they have a valid employment contract with the Federal state for their entire working life and cannot be made redundant.

Students who need extra help can turn to our two social workers or our school psychologist. Individual advice is available to immigrant students through a specialized team of coaches.

A big college like ours can only provide good service with the support of the non-tuition staff. Two IT-specialists take care of all hardware and software issues of school IT-equipment. There are approximately 15 members of staff in the administrative sector and in maintenance services like facility management, housekeeping, gardening, etc.

Most of the additional staff are employed by the Pinneberg County, i. e. they are civil servants, too.

Nearly 4,000 students are registered with our school, but as many of them are dual trainees (see 5. Training companies) only 1,800 to 2,000 are present at our premises every day.

The vast majority of our students are young adults aged 18-24; a minority of younger students mainly attend full-time tuition.

Full-time students usually live in the Pinneberg county. In the dual system of vocational training the location of the training company is decisive for the assignment of the responsible vocational college. This means that some dual students have to travel longer distances to our school, coming not only from our county or the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, but also from three neighbouring federal states.

Tuition is provided in more than 210 classes. Due to the high degree of vocational specialization class sizes vary from a very small number of students to a maximum of 30. The number of classes in the different departments varies according to the number of students.

Dual training is provided for 23 different professions. At the end of their training period the students sit a written exam in all key subjects and an oral and/or practical exam at the respective chamber (see 7. Cooperation with External Organizations). These degrees in dual training are highly recognized in Germany and a promising basis for a sound professional career.

Dual trainees with an intermediate secondary degree can attend additional evening lessons for two years and simultaneously achieve an advanced technical college entrance qualification with extra exams in German, English and Maths.

Full-time tuition in classes for social services and special needs care provide an acknowledged vocational degree, whereas the vocational secondary school ends with an intermediate secondary degree. Students in vocational preparation can obtain a basic secondary degree and/or improve their German language skills, which will increase their chances for entering a dual apprenticeship.

Approximately 20% of German companies participate in the dual system of vocational training Our school cooperates with nearly 2,900 training companies in the Pinneberg county, who are our most important partners in this section.

Only students who have a training contract with a training company can join the classes for dual vocational training. The training companies have to register these contracts with the local chambers in charge, e. g. the Chamber of Commerce or the Chamber of Crafts, and they also register their trainees / apprentices with the relevant college, i. e. a vocational college that provides tuition for the respective branch of training, usually in the district where the company is located. This means that the training companies decide who becomes a student at our vocational school for dual training.

The contents and structure of practical training in the training companies must follow a set nationwide curriculum to ensure comprehensive high-quality practical training. As it includes some part-time practical work experience, training companies pay a trainee’s salary, depending on the chosen type of profession and increasing with every year of training. It may vary from 550€ in the first year to 950€ in the final third year in retail trade, whereas banking students earn between 1,000€ to 1,200€. This training remuneration is also payable during the periods when trainees attend our vocational school.

Our school offers different schedules for dual vocational training, according to the requirements of the majority of training companies. In banking for example our training companies prefer a block release system, which means that the students have alternating periods of practical training in their training companies for several weeks and periods of school tuition of 4 to 5 weeks a year. For the wholesale sector we offer the part-time release system, so students attend school for 2 days in their first year of training and 1 day in their second and third year. That way our school always tries to adapt to the needs of our dual partners in order to provide as many training opportunities to young people as possible.

The significance of this dual partnership between training companies and vocational colleges also shows in the final examinations, where the examination boards comprise members from both sides with equal voting rights.

In our full-time vocational secondary school our students do an internship of 4 weeks with a company, which is unpaid and should help them to obtain a training contract later.

Our students in social services train at our school for 2 years, some with longer integrated periods of paid internships at social organisations. To complete their training an additional year of practical training is compulsory, and during this time they also receive a training allowance of roughly 1,500€.

The large number of our students and the variety of the vocational training require a large number of classrooms as well as highly specialized equipment, completed by general school infrastructure.

The old main building, which no longer provided the necessary facilities for modern vocational training, was completely replaced by a state-of-the-art structure. After several years of step-by-step demolition and reconstruction the new building came into operation in 2014 with construction costs amounting to 25 million Euro.

The building comprises 113 rooms for tuition with an average classroom size of 55-60 square meters; special rooms are more spacious. All rooms have interactive whiteboards and oxygen indicating devices. The school’s gym can be subdivided into three separate playing courts.ng classrooms.

The business administration department uses several fully equipped data processing classrooms.

Dual trainees in the logistics departments can achieve the acknowledged operator license on one of our forklift trucks. For full-time tuition in this field of study, a special office simulator helps students to understand company processes.

Four kitchens each holding 4 students provide practical work experience for full-time tuition in some areas of vocational preparation.

It not only contains usual household tools, but also advanced devices used in restaurants or hotels, e. g. professional dishwashers, ovens, cookers, etc.

In the department for medical assistance laboratories outfitted with microscopes, special medical tools, models, etc. combine hands-on learning with theoretical instruction.

This also applies to teaching in crafts / trades and automotive engineering where highly specialized workshops are for example equipped with professional vehicle lifts, electronic laboratories, metal or wood processing devices, etc. .

Training in social services includes art and music lessons in a well-appointed special classroom setting.

For performances the music room can be opened up to the assembly hall,

which adjoins a kiosk catering hand-made, freshly prepared tasty snacks for students and staff.

The bistro opposite provides a separate seated area for events in a relaxed and calm atmosphere.

Vocational education is a complex and multi-layer matter and the Berufliche Schule Pinneberg works together with a number of different organisations to ensure optimal opportunities at all levels.

As dual vocational training is the main focus of our college, we work together closely with all examination boards like the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Crafts, Medical Associations, the Bar Association or the Chamber of Tax Consultants and more.

Our college has its own but independent non-profit charity. We are grateful to all donors who help to bridge gaps in public funding that may occur due to special projects, individual emergencies, new developments, etc. For example some special sports equipment could be purchased or study trips abroad and student exchanges were financially supported. (Förderverein)

International experience has become an essential part of vocational training and our international partners help us supply several opportunities. A large number of students – mainly from business administration, but also from social services – have had the chance to do a 3-week internship in English or Irish companies which we could offer in cooperation with the German National Agency for Erasmus and our partner KulturLife gGmbH in Kiel. We also appreciated the support of the National Erasmus Agency for our international teacher training. Moreover, we have worked together with the East Sussex College in Eastbourne (former Sussex Downs College) for many years, where several hundreds of our students enjoyed customized intensive business English training. We have also cooperated with vocational colleges in France. (international)

The local youth job center supports our students in full-time education with counselling on career choices, internships or applications. The job centre also supplies extra coaching and tuition for students who need a bit of additional support to reach their preferred qualifications.

We are proud to say that the quality of our tuition, facilities, structures and procedures is regularly certified by CERTQUA, a German examination board for quality management systems in vocational training and adult further education.