In Germany, the dual system of apprenticeship training has traditionally been very strong. The dominant position of the dual system, however, is being challenged by other training routes gaining significance, particularly tertiary education. This article investigates the extent to which this is leading to a restructuring of the dual system. Developments in school-based vocational programmes, trends of academisation and challenges deriving from qualifying low achievers are discussed. The growing significance of school-based programmes is linked to the gender impact of the vocational education and training (VET) system and the gender segmentation of the German labour market, while academisation reflects labour market demands for high skills. With dual study programmes and three and a half-year dual training, the dual system seeks to provide attractive training options for highly skilled young people. This, however, has made access to fully-qualifying vocational programmes very difficult for low-achieving young people, including migrants and refugees, thereby challenging the integration function of the German VET system.