Maryam Shariat, Recognition Advisor for the Baden-Württemberg Integration Through Qualification (IQ) Network.
IQ Network Baden-Württemberg
The large number of enquiries I have received at the Mannheim Intercultural Educational Centre (ikubiz) shows just how much the topic of “recognition of foreign vocational qualifications” has mushroomed since 1 April. I process between 10 and 15 specific cases a day by e-mail, on the telephone or in face-to-face meetings. Many of those seeking advice hold academic qualifications and are mostly passed on to the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) for certificate assessment.
There are, however, also many skilled workers in healthcare and nursing occupations who are interested in obtaining recognition. A few weeks ago, for example, I received a visit from a Rumanian midwife who was seeking advice. She had worked in Germany for many years as a nursing care assistant because her qualification could not be recognised. The new Act puts her in a completely different position. Upon making an application, she immediately received a positive initial response from the Regional Commission. Of course, not all cases are as straightforward as this one. But this is precisely why we are here.
We often spend considerable amounts of time, for example, in identifying the appropriate reference occupation for those seeking advice. The detailed occupational profiles contained within the Recognition Finder on the online portal are worth their weight in gold in this regard. If an occupation is not recognised, we work together to find alternatives and try to organise updating training. The new law also permits occupational experience to be taken into account. Good networking with local labour market stakeholders is a source of further assistance for us. We regularly place applicants for nursery teacher training places with Mannheim City Council, for example. There is also no shortage of interested parties for a regional nursing training programme run by a charitable organisation.