The "So geht's noch besser zum Goethe B1" book has the following paragraph in the Lesen section:

Mein neues Leben hat begonnen!

Seit gestern bin ich nun also Auszubildende (AZUBI) in der Firma und lerne im dualen System. Nach drei Jahren praktischer Ausbildung im Betrieb plus Berufsschule bin ich dann hoffentlich am Ziel: Bürokauffrau.

The only fitting translation I could find for Betrieb was "company".

However then the paragraph wouldn't really make sense to me: she says she finally started at a company yesterday, but also that she had Ausbildung in a company for three years.

What does Ausbildung im Betrieb mean in this context?

  • 4
    Just a hint: Conversational German tends to be very, very sloppy with tenses: Germans often use present tense when they actually mean future tense. Your example phrase does exactly that. So "nach drei Jahren bin ich dann am Ziel" actually means "nach drei Jahren werde ich am Ziel sein"
    – tofro
    Apr 15 at 9:17
  • Can you please control, that AZUBI is written in all uppercase letters in your source? Normally, abbreviations are written in the case, they occur in the expanded text, like GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung). Apr 15 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


In Germany we have a system called Duale Ausbildung, a dual education system. This is a combination of an apprenticeship in a company and courses at a vocational school ("Berufsschule"). Typically, an apprentice ("Auszubildender" or "Auszubildene", short "Azubi") will work and get training in the company for some days of the week, and visit the Berufsschule for the remaining days.

There's a list of approved professions for which you can be trained and earn a degree this way. Those professions are called Ausbildungsberufe. "Bürokaufmann" or "Bürokauffrau" used to be such an Ausbildungsberuf, and I think still is in Austria. In Germany, the Ausbildungsberuf has been reorganized into what's called "Kaufmann für Büromanagement" or "Kauffrau für Büromanagement" about ten years ago.

Nach drei Jahren praktischer Ausbildung im Betrieb plus Berufsschule bin ich dann hoffentlich am Ziel: Bürokauffrau.

"Betrieb" in this context, as you reckoned, refers to the company the apprentice works and is trained at. So the whole sentence translates to something like

After three years of practical training in the company plus vocational school, I'll hopefully have reached my goal: Bürokauffrau.

The sentence technically uses present tense, but refers to the future.


So your question is about the tense of

Nach drei Jahren bin ich … am Ziel.

That's Präsens. Präsens is for facts in the non-past. Yep, you read correctly. The non-past. That is because German only tells apart the past and the non-past by the verb tense. All the rest is marked by adverbials.

– Uh, okay?

And you can even talk about the past in Präsens if the state is still the same in the non-past, as in

Seit gestern bin ich … .

Convenient, don't you think?

— But, what is Futur I good for then?

It's for assumptions about the non-past. Present or future. Consider

Nach drei Jahren werde ich … am Ziel sein.

That's what you assume to be true. In three years. Not because werden is about the future but because of the adverbial. You could use another adverbial and talk about another person so it makes sense to assume something:

Jetzt wird Jörg am Ziel sein.

This is an assumption about Jörg. And about now. That's what Futur I is good for. Actually, even this may be about the past as long the state is still the same in the non-past.

(Futur II is for assumptions about the past by the way. You know this already from English future perfect. It's the same tense. English is a bit odd in that regard because it features a wild mix of German-like tenses and French-like tenses.)

  • 1
    I disagree somewhat with your first paragraphs. You make it sound as if German had very peculiar future tenses. In German, future tense carries just about the same notion as future tense carries in any language that has one - It's just not commonly used, at least not in conversational language. So, it's more the sloppiness in practical usage that makes the difference.
    – tofro
    Apr 15 at 14:36
  • All the Germanic languages only tell apart non-past and past by tense. As I explained, English is the odd one out because it adopted French tense paradigms. The reason why we call those assumption tenses Futur I and Futur II in German is because the modern grammar terminology is a French invention as well.
    – Janka
    Apr 15 at 16:53
  • Traditionally, yes - I agree. But that changed in the 14th century with Middle High German when German adopted the future tense, likely from poor Latin translators that didn't know what else to do with Latin texts that used it. There have a few years gone by now.....
    – tofro
    Apr 15 at 21:13
  • Given that pretty much no one uses Futur I to tell about the future nowadays, I think their efforts died together with commonplace translations from Latin.
    – Janka
    Apr 15 at 22:13
  • 1
    Well, agree in spoken language. In written language, future tense is, for one, way more common, and secondly means very much the same as any future tense in any other language.
    – tofro
    Apr 18 at 16:24

"Ausbildung im Betrieb" is a German term that translates to "training in the workplace" or "apprenticeship in the company." In Germany, it refers to a system of vocational education and training (VET) where individuals undergo structured training programs within a company or a business.

This form of education is highly regarded in Germany and is an integral part of the country's education system. It allows individuals, typically young adults, to acquire practical skills and knowledge directly within the context of a real working environment. The training usually combines theoretical classroom instruction with hands-on experience in the workplace.

Ausbildung im Betrieb covers a wide range of professions and industries, including fields such as engineering, healthcare, IT, hospitality, and many others. The duration of the apprenticeship varies depending on the profession, typically lasting between two to three and a half years.

During the Ausbildung, apprentices work under the guidance of experienced professionals, often called "Ausbilder" or trainers, who provide mentorship and supervision. Apprentices receive a salary during their training period, although it is generally lower than that of fully qualified workers in the same profession.

Upon successful completion of the Ausbildung, apprentices receive a recognized vocational qualification or certification, such as the Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK) certificate or the Handwerkskammer (HWK) certificate, depending on the industry. This certification enhances their employability and provides them with valuable skills for their chosen career path.

Overall, Ausbildung im Betrieb plays a crucial role in preparing individuals for the workforce, bridging the gap between formal education and practical skills required in the job market. It is highly valued by employers and often serves as a pathway to secure employment opportunities for individuals entering various industries in Germany.

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