I heard that it’s not unusual that you do some kind of pre-qualification before entering the job market. For example with an internship or an apprenticeship. What are the differences?
An apprenticeship (Ausbildung) usually takes 3-4 years. There are hybrid models (duale Ausbildung) where you still go to school while working in a company part-time.
An internship is shorter and has a different aim: you work for a company so that you can check if this profession is fitting for you and the employer can see on the other hand if you are the right person for that job. An internship might lead to a full-time job, but first of all it helps you to gather work experience.
I would suggest to always start with an internship before doing an apprenticeship. Even if it is just for a couple of days. Sometimes your employer is not treating you well, the colleagues are racist or the work conditions are bad. If that is the case and you already signed an apprenticeship contract than it is difficult to nullify this contract. An internship is easier to cancel and probably a good way to find out if you want to stay in that company for the following years.