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  • Writer's pictureSusanne Klimmer, IFA

AUSTRIA: Moorheilbad Harbach - How to make apprenticeship training in tourism appealing

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

To enhance the quality of apprenticeship training and motivate young people to start an apprenticeship training in the tourism sector, MOORHEILBAD HARACH offers a very attractive and modern training in the company, respects regional peculiarities as well as the ecological cycle, cooperates with other companies in the region and supports international exchange and placements abroad for apprentices.


The Moorheilbad Harbach is a health and rehabilitation centre that specialises in the prevention and treatment of complaints in the musculoskeletal system. It is located in Lower Austria, close to the Czech border in a very rural area. Moorheilbad Harbach has existed for over 40 years now, has far more than 250 employees in the medical professions and health care, in administration as well as in the hospitality and tourism professions.

Due to difficulties in finding apprentices and future skilled workers in the tourism sector, Moorheilbad Harbach concentrates on apprenticeship training, on healthy perspectives, incentives and social benefits for employees, co-operation with other companies and schools in the region and aims to recruit especially employees from the surrounding areas.

Responsible organisation:

IFA - Internationaler Fachkräfteaustausch

(International Young Workers Exchange)

What problem or issue has the innovative practice aimed to tackle?

One of the biggest challenges at the moment, as in many other regions and companies in Austria, is the lack of skilled workers in combination with the lack of young people willing to start their professional life with apprenticeship training.

Apprenticeship professions in the tourism sector are especially unattractive for young people, which is also due to the working hours in evenings and on weekends: Tourism companies are expected to be open throughout the whole year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Moreover, the Waldviertel region is facing a trend of more and more qualified people migrating to urban areas, especially towards the Vienna region. Therefore the lack of skilled workers in tourism is especially high, not only, but also in this area.

Nevertheless, the tourism and wellness sector is one of the most important economic sectors in Austria, so companies need to be active and try to be appealing for future apprentices and skilled workers.

To overcome the lack of skilled workers, Moorheilbad Harbach sets a lot of initiatives especially in apprenticeship training, e.g.:

  • Close co-operation with mandatory schools prior to apprenticeship training to offer guidance and information about apprenticeship training in the company

  • Clear information and selection strategies for future apprentices and skilled workers (personal conversation, tests concerning competencies necessary for the professions, social skills)

  • Close co-operation with part-time vocational schools during apprenticeship training to combine the company and the school-based contents of the training which also supports apprentices when they have difficulties of any kind during their training

  • Visits to producing companies, farmers, etc. to get to know the ecological cycle

  • Rotation within the company during apprenticeship training

  • Teambuilding workshops and field trips

  • Peer learning activities, group-work and project-based learning, learning from advanced apprentices, helping and guiding younger ones through their training

  • Partial qualification and extension of the apprenticeship training period possible if necessary

  • Placements abroad as an integrated part of the apprenticeship training etc.

What have been the achievements?

  • Around 90% of the employees are from surrounding areas including people from just across the border in the Czech Republic, which can be seen as a big success in a rural area like this.

  • Teams are mixed in age, sex and background. Partnerships, mutual exchange and support are state-of-the-art and ensure the quality of the apprenticeship training.

  • 99% of the people who start an apprenticeship finish their apprenticeship training in the company, which is exceptionally high and outstanding!

For its intercultural and international activities and the company's activities in apprenticeship training, Moorheilbad Harbach was awarded with the EQAMOB label by the Austrian Federal Minister of Economy in recognition of the company's

  • clear selection strategies for those who take part,

  • preparation of participants – together with IFA,

  • full financial support,

  • experiences abroad as an integrated and accredited part of apprenticeship training,

  • mentoring during the whole process and

  • presentations, reflections, peer-learning activities after return.

As a recipient of the award, Moorheilbad Harbach uses the EQAMOB label, the logo, the certificate to advertise for their company and for apprenticeship training in their company. There are regional as well as nation-wide media reports.

Who was involved and how?

Apprenticeship trainers, the management of the company, the HR department as well as peers and co-operating companies are involved in all activities concerning apprenticeship training in the company. Moreover, the apprenticeship trainers are in close contact with vocational schools, mandatory schools and representatives of the region.

Download the fact sheet with contact information here (pdf):

MOB'INNOV_Fact sheet_Moorheilbad-Harbach_OESTERREICH (AUSTRIA-IFA)
Download PDF • 389KB


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