Hamburg Chamber of Crafts and Trades/NOBI Project

Claudia Meimbresse

Claudia Meimbresse, Hamburg Chamber of Crafts and Trades, NOBI Project

More than a year ago, a Spanish man was sent to us at the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts and Trades by his German aunt. She had heard of the Recognition Act and wanted to make sure that the three-year training course her nephew had completed in Infiesto in Spain was not in vain. Perhaps the qualification he had obtained was comparable to German journeyman training.

More than 300 people have joined this Spanish electronics technician in seeking guidance at the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts and Trades in the first twelve months following the enactment of the Recognition Act. Of these, 60 have submitted an application for an equivalence assessment procedure in respect of their foreign qualification.

The initial main focus of our activity is, however, to offer guidance. It is not always a simple case of “recognition”. Alternatives such as external examinations, self-employment or appropriate subsequent training frequently need to be considered. The really difficult work begins for us if the interested party decides to make an application for a recognition procedure. Are the certificates meaningful and clear? What is the ratio between theoretical and practical training content? What occupational experience does the applicant bring to the table?

These questions are not easy to answer. Training regulations or general training plans are difficult to obtain. They also need to be translated and may extend to as many as 100 pages. The Vocational Qualifications Portal (BQ Portal), is a very helpful website in this regard. It provides comprehensive information on foreign vocational education systems and qualifications and is specifically aimed at decision-makers at the competent authorities and within companies.

As far as our young Spaniard was concerned, his visit to the Chamber of Crafts and Trades proved to be very much worth his while. He has achieved full recognition and has already found employment as a journeyman with a craft trade company.