Our approach to training and development

Our contribution to the SDGs

We offer our employees a wide range of individual training and development programs. Important principles for this are defined in our Employee Relations Policy and in our Guiding Principles. For many units of Deutsche Telekom, specific agreements were also reached with the employee representatives on the subject of training. The training we offer our employees pays off. In 2021, for example, we were able to fill 50.75 percent of our open positions with internal candidates.

Training the experts of tomorrow
We offer many young people an opportunity to enter the workplace. For example, we have an extensive range of technical and commercial programs for training our experts of tomorrow. In 2021, we provided 2 150 apprenticeship positions in Germany, of which 1 450 were for vocational training, 675 were study places for dual Bachelor's-degree programs, and up to 25 were for dual Master’s-degree programs. These results make us one of the nation's largest training companies. We train considerably more people than we need for our own workforce. During our training programs, we lay the foundations of digital competence, and thereby enable our apprentices to make a seamless transition into the digital workplace.

Promoting lifelong learning
We promote lifelong learning and support our employees on their individual learning paths. We start by reviewing the skills our employees have now and those they will need in the future. On this basis, we offer our employees tailored training and development programs. These can also include stays abroad or studies parallel to their jobs. For example, “Bologna@Telekom“ gives employees access to part-time bachelor's and master's degree programs. Since its introduction more than ten years ago, over 2 000 employees in Germany have taken advantage of this opportunity.


… takes a look at the entire educational chain from vocational training – university degree – further development.
Informal learning in the working process

  • Cooperative Bachelors’ degree courses
  • Vocational training
  • Entry-level training scheme

Initial career

  • Start up!
  • Cooperative Master’s degree courses
  • Theses
  • Student internship/Flexikum scheme

Courses for students
and graduates

  • Youlearn
  • Part-time Master’s degree
  • Part-time Bachelors’ degree

further education

  • Talent development
  • Expert development
  • Leadership development

Courses for

Training: Self-managed, digital learning
Since 2019, we have been carrying out the “youlearn” initiative, which is aimed at turning Deutsche Telekom into a learning organization. We offer our employees worldwide (with the exception of T-Mobile US) the ability to largely manage their own training by means of digital offerings and to make learning an integral part of everyday working life. For example, “youlearn” invites employees to take part in voluntary, informal learning challenges. The second Group-wide “youlearn day” was held in October 2021. It took the success achieved with this digital learning event in 2020 to an even higher level. A total of 5 000 participants – 300 more than in the previous year – from a total of 30 countries took part in some 40 digital learning sessions. In the sessions, participants learned about important technology topics such as data analytics, cyber security and software development, and had the opportunity to interact with experts.

Also, we continued to expand our online education and training programs at the global level (with the exception of T-Mobile US) – most notably, via the Percipio learning platform, which we introduced in 2019. In addition to a desktop solution, the Percipio app lets users access content anytime and anywhere. It offers a wide range of courses, videos, books, and audio books on topics such as leadership, technology and development, and digital transformation, and it conveys the learning content in an entertaining way. Content is offered in 18 languages – with the help of dubbing and subtitling. In 2021, some 180 000 Deutsche Telekom employees were registered on this platform. Via Percipio, our employees can access training materials offered by Coursera, the world’s largest provider of online courses at the university level. The courses, on issues such as big data, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence, are provided by a network of around 200 universities. In the year under review, we also expanded the online learning areas of our training programs in Germany, by adding formats of the online-course provider “Bildungsinnovator.”

The employee initiative “Learning from Experts” (LEX), which was launched in 2018 and is now successfully established at Deutsche Telekom, provides another example of opportunities for self-managed, self-guided learning. In LEX, experts from the Group share knowledge with their colleagues via a range of different channels. With 20 500 active members (as of Dec. 31, 2021), LEX is our fastest-growing employee community. Its LEX sessions, lasting 30 to 60 minutes, are especially popular. As of the end of 2021, over 5 000 such content items were available. Since LEX's launch in 2018, some 260 000 employees have participated in LEX Sessions.

Our employees around the globe spent some 4 million hours on training and skills development in 2021. Overall, LEX users completed a total of 3.5 million hours of online learning in 2021 – and the comparable figure for 2019 was only 1.8 million. In 2021, 83 percent of the training courses were available online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when large numbers of employees have been working from home, and no classroom courses have been available, this extensive range of online courses has been very helpful in keeping training available to employees.

Boosting leadership skills in the digital age
We are also increasing the use of virtual solutions in our management development programs. The aim of such programs is to strengthen virtual leadership skills. In 2021, at Deutsche Telekom in Germany, and at the Local Business Units (LBUs) of T-Systems, we introduced “WeGrow,” a new approach to performance development. WeGrow has supplanted “Lead to Win,” our previous performance and development process. This new process will help us increase the commitment of each employee through regular feedback, create clarity about tasks and expected results, and strengthen trust-based relationships between managers and employees. In addition, the new approach will enable closer integration with other HR processes such as skills management, talent management, and succession planning, and it will help us meet our business targets. Also, we use “Compass” career development meetings for employees covered by collective agreements and for civil servants, on a Germany-wide basis. Compass serves as a means of providing feedback about performance and skills and of identifying talents.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 404-1 (Training and Education)
  • GRI 404-2 (Training and Education)

New learning concepts at T-Systems

In the year under review, the Group-wide “youlearn” initiative, which was launched in 2020, was also continued at T-Systems, with a special focus on the “Digitize!” company-wide qualification campaign. The company's management is giving the initiative top strategic priority for the next few years. “Digitize!” comprises several skills development programs that teach employees highly relevant technology skills that they need in order to implement digital transformation for their customers. The programs include digital training on topics such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, as well as the part-time programs “Digital Engineer,” “Data Scientist,” “Digital Consultant,” and “Digital Expert of Tomorrow,” which are offered in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University. The programs are aimed at entry-level participants (“Explorer Level”), experienced participants with solid technology skills (“From Good to Great”) and at thought leaders for digitalization (“Thought Leadership”). Wherever possible, the courses are offered internationally, include large virtual sections and consist of a mixture of self-guided learning and in-person training on location. While all of these measures for retraining, and for development of employees' existing skills, are centrally controlled, they are carried out in close cooperation with the relevant business units (departments, teams of experts). A key aim of these efforts is for T-Systems to increasingly become a self-learning organization. For this reason, self-organized initiatives of the various units, within the “Learning & Development” area, are welcomed and supported by the company.

Training program for cybersecurity professionals

IT security experts are still in short supply on the German labor market, which is why we developed our part-time training program for cybersecurity professionals (certified by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry) in 2014. The program is integrated into regular work processes and supplemented by topic-based and general modules in a variety of formats (classroom courses, e-learning, blended learning). After successfully passing the examination at the relevant Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), participants receive an IHK certificate as a cybersecurity professional. They can obtain credits in their Bachelor's or Master's program for the skills they have acquired as part of the training.

We are continuously developing our training programs, taking into account current and future IT security requirements. In the year under review, for example, we updated our ”network security” module. In 2020, we developed and deployed new technical modules in cryptography and web and application security. In addition, in the previous year, we added a “mental health” unit to the program at the request of participants and specialist companies.

Despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we were again able to carry out the full program in 2021. The contact restrictions simply meant that individual classroom events had to be carried out virtually.

In 2018, in response to considerable demand, we opened up our training to employees from other organizations, including employees of other companies and of government agencies. In 2021, the training, in its eighth year, was carried out online due to the pandemic. It included 18 participants, one of whom came from an external organization. In addition, 11 participants came from Deutsche Telekom Security GmbH, five from Deutsche Telekom IT GmbH and one from T-Systems International GmbH.

After eight program sessions to date, we can assess the program very positively. A total of five classes completed the training in full by June 2021 and were certified accordingly – and this included, in the year under review, a first group of employees from external companies. The average age of the graduates was approximately 25. At 1.8 percent, the dropout rate among participants was very low. We now have a total of 115 program participants from eight course years. All 50 internal graduates from the 2014 to 2018 intake were kept on by Deutsche Telekom. Only two graduates decided to leave the company, and one of those returned after one year.

Skills development at Telekom Training KPI

Deutsche Telekom offers its employees a range of advanced training measures, which enable them to develop and brush up their skills.

In 2021, we provided 43 772 learning opportunities via our global Learning Management System (LMS). – 83 percent of the Group learning portfolio was available digitally. Our employees in Germany and the European national companies invested an average of 4.6 working days in their continuing education, 4.1 days of which were spent digitally. The digital learning rate increased to 89 percent in the year under review (2020: 69 percent).

You can find further information here and in the HR Factbook.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 404-1 (Training and Education)
  • GRI 404-2 (Training and Education)

German Sustainability Code

  • Criterion 16 (Qualifications)

European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies (EFFAS)

  • S02-02 (Average expenses on training per FTE p.a)

International development and leadership programs KPI

The object of our international development and leadership programs is for high potentials and high achievers to gain a foothold in the Group, to keep them loyal to the company and to position them in suitable jobs. These programs focus on development of the upcoming leader generation and on support in coping with the challenges they face now and in the future. At the same time, the programs aim to enhance their sense of belonging, increase knowledge exchange and promote personal responsibility.

The Global Talent Pool was closed to new entrants in June 2020. A revised global approach “Talent Hub” has been developed and was launched in 2021.

In 2021 the levelUP! platform changed the approach and became a leadership hub. In 2022, LevelUP! will be accessible to all leaders, also non-executives across Deutsche Telekom group, at anytime, from anywhere and from any device. Content-wise it focuses on following learning journeys: Leading in transformation, Leading hybrid teams, Leading digital telco. Joining any of the learning paths helps to gain a new arsenal of powerful tools and skills, insights, reflections and improves personal leadership style while upskilling for digital literacy.

Already in 2020, we had to conduct levelUP!NextGEneration purely digitally due to COVID-19. In 2021, we again offered the programme in a purely digital format for the safety of all participants. Worldwide, 500 employees from 18 countries went through this 4-month development programme, which is aimed at motivated employees and is characterised by the teaching of innovative, inspiring and tangible leadership topics and skills.

You can find further information in the HR Factbook.

Apprentices and training programs Deutsche Telekom Group in Germany KPI

In 2021, a total of around 6 000 junior employees were employed for training or a cooperative degree program. 26 percent of them were women.

You can find further information in the HR Factbook.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 404-1 (Training and Education)

German Sustainability Code

  • Criterion 15 (Equal Opportunity)

Employee recruitment Deutsche Telekom Group in Germany KPI

In 2021, Deutsche Telekom hired almost 800 new employees from the external labor market in Germany. In addition, again we gave around 1 100 internal junior staff permanent jobs on completion of their vocational training or cooperative study courses.


You can find further information in the HR Factbook.

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