German Confederation of Skilled Crafts

Daike Witt

Daike Witt, Vocational Education and Training advisor at the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts.

The 53 Chambers of Crafts and Trades in Germany are responsible for the recognition of foreign vocational training qualifications in the craft trades. Vocational Education and Training advisor at the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, Daike Witt, Referentin, on the experiences of the first months.

“The level of interest in the new procedures is considerable. In the first eight months following the enactment of the Recognition Act, the Chambers of Crafts and Trades provided advice to around 9,603 enquirers. By the end of February 2013, the number of applications received had reached 1,703. Most applications relate to professional and vocational qualifications acquired in Poland and Turkey. The craft trade qualifications most frequently submitted to the Chambers for evaluation are in the occupations of electrical technician, hairdresser and motor vehicle technician. The recognition rate has been high thus far. Of the applications submitted during the first six months, 57% were ultimately accorded full equivalence and 33% partial equivalence.

The spectrum of individual applications is very wide. Submissions regarding qualifications from 77 countries of origin have already been received by the Chambers. This degree of diversity creates a major challenge. In order to be able to make a decision on equivalence, the Chambers of Crafts and Trades require information about the various educational systems and about the foreign vocational qualifications in particular. The chambers have instigated a designated chamber system amongst themselves so that not every single body is faced with this extensive task. On request, individual chambers will take responsibility for appraising qualifications from certain countries of origin. This means that both the time required for the process and the associated costs are minimised. Procedures are accelerated, and a greater amount of uniformity is introduced into decision-making practice.

There are, of course, many developments still to come. I am sure, however, that staff at the Chambers of Crafts and Trades are displaying the necessary commitment to enable them to make objective and reliable decisions in the best interests of the applicant in each individual case. Regardless of whether the result of the process is full or partial equivalence, the crucial thing is that certifications are accepted by employers and start to deliver genuine benefits on the labour market.