On Austria's navigable bodies of water there is the possibility to be trained in the area of inland waterways and shipping. Inland navigation operators work on cargo ships and passenger ships. The training is organised as an apprenticeship, the prerequisite is the completion of compulsory schooling of 9 years. The dual vocational training takes place primarily on the sailing vessel of a training company. Blocks of 3 months per year are scheduled for school-based education. It takes place at the Vocational School for Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Electronics located in Vienna. The apprenticeship usually lasts for 3 years. The final apprenticeship examination and the accompanying apprenticeship certificate can also be taken via second-chance education.

Achenseeschifffahrt, BRANDER Schifffahrt, DDSG Blue Danube and Ossiachersee Schifffahrt hire apprentices for inland waterways and shipping. Vacant (apprentice) positions can be found at www.ams.at. If you have been able to find an apprenticeship, you will conclude a written apprenticeship contract with the respective shipping company.

viadonau makes various publications and materials available to trainers and trainees and strives for a regular exchange of knowledge. In addition, viadonau supports national decision-makers during the implementation of the Directive (EU) 2017/2397 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation. From 2022, the Austrian apprenticeship shall represent an approved training programme in accordance with the EU Directive: Graduates will obtain an "Union certificate of qualification" along with their apprenticeship certificate and will thus be holder of an internationally recognised professional qualification. The required adaptations of the training programme and the related legislative framework will be accompanied by the EU co-financed Danube SKILLS project.

Initial and further training is very different in the individual Danube countries as well as in Europe as a whole. Education in Inland Navigation (EDINNA), the association of inland waterway navigation schools and training institutes in Europe, provides an overview of the training opportunities in Europe on its website. EDINNA supports the European Commission in its efforts to harmonise education and certification in inland navigation.

Selected activities

  • Danube SKILLS project: Pilot course on safety practices in Austria (10 December 2018)
    With the support of the FH Upper Austria and the vocational school MFE, viadonau organised a pilot course on Safety practices for emergency situations during ship operation on 10 December 2018 at its premises in Vienna. The participating apprentices were offered a diverse one-day programme: Trainers from the vocational school were responsible for the presentation of subjects safety at work, fire fighting and life-saving appliances/protective equipment. The Viennese Red Cross enabled the apprentices to refresh their knowledge and skills in the fields of first aid. As well, experts from viadonau passed on their experience in environmental protection.

    The materials developed in the project, such as presentations, course notes and project video, contributed to the successful implementation of the pilot course. In addition, the trainees received printed copies of the German version of the compendium as well as an introduction to the eLearning platform INeS Danube by the project partner FH Upper Austria. The related e-learning course is available here.
  • Danube SKILLS project: Stakeholder-meeting on the implementation of the EU-Directive 2017/2397 in the apprenticeship in the area of inland navigation and shipping (12 October 2018)
    From January 2022, the Austrian apprenticeship in the area of inland navigation and shipping shall represent a recognised training programme in accordance with EU Directive 2017/2397. In order to set the the course for national implementation, a stakeholder meeting was held on 12 October 2018 in Vienna.

    Representatives of Danube shipping companies, vocational school for mechanical engineering, production technology and electronics, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology as the competent authority for technical and nautical affairs in the field of inland navigation and shipping, as well as social partners of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the Vienna Chamber of Labour and the trade union vida followed an invitation from viadonau and FH Upper Austria to discuss the status quo in the field of inland navigation training and the implementation of contents and organisational aspects both in the practical on-the-job training within companies and the theoretical instruction at the vocational school, and to identify possibilities for the adoption of the existing legal framework.
  • Visit of the apprentices for inland waterways and shipping (25 April 2018)
    Of course, the future boatmasters and inland navigation operators are especially interested in the tasks and responsibilities of viadonau. For this reason, every year the first-year trainees visit viadonau in order to get an overview of our corporate portfolio. An expert presentation about waterway management concluded the visit.