You have been working as a business guide at UBA since 2019. What does your work actually involve?
Dilek Intepe: As a business guide I am the direct point of contact for craft trade businesses in Berlin for all matters concerning the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. This ranges from initial guidance through to support during refresher training following partial recognition. This might involve employees in the business or applicants, including applicants from abroad.
How long have the UBA business guides been in existence? What is special about the concept?
Dilek Intepe: We began our work in 2019.. The service we provide is targeted exclusively at craft trade businesses. What's special about this is that we actively approach and support them. The business guides contribute to these businesses being able to get through the process of recognition and training efficiently and without a huge financial pressure.
In what ways do you help businesses specifically with the recognition of their employees? What are the key requirements for providing support to the businesses successfully?
Dilek Intepe: It is important for craft trade businesses to have a point of contact for professional recognition. Small businesses in particular largely lack the time and staffing resources to take on the additional tasks of employee training and staff recruitment. My work as a UBA business guide begins at the application stage. I check in advance whether an applicant can be considered for professional recognition. However, I also check the existing workforce to see whether there are employees who have a relevant foreign professional qualification.
If somebody receives partial recognition, I get together with the business to consider which skills and knowledge the potential skilled worker is lacking and how they can be trained to specifically address this. This is then individual and tailored refresher training.
Another important task of the UBA business guide is to clarify the costs of recognition procedures and refresher training. I check out the ways in which the costs can be covered and apply for these together with the business and person interested in recognition. We usually make use of the recognition grant available to those interested in recognition.
What prior knowledge do UBA business guides need so they can deliver tailored support to craft trade businesses on an ongoing basis?
Dilek Intepe: On the one hand they need to be familiar with the relevant statutory bases in Germany, in other words the Recognition Act, the Skilled Immigration Act, the Residence Act and the Employment Regulation. But what's most important is that they actively seek out the businesses. This means that, as a UBA business guide, I approach craft trade businesses, I asked them about what they currently need, and about what challenges they are facing with professional recognition. As part of this, I coordinate with the competent authority in our Chamber whose official task it is to implement the recognition procedure. At the same time, I have to be well connected with all the institutions entrusted with the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. This concerns in particular the immigration authorities (in Berlin this is the Berlin Immigration Office) and employment agencies who make decisions on matters relating to residence and work permits. The guilds of the Berlin craft and trade sector are also part of this because the specialist refresher training is provided in their training centres.
How is the offer received by the craft trade businesses?
Dilek Intepe: The feedback we have received from the Berlin craft trade businesses is entirely positive. Most businesses are pleased to have somebody from the Chamber of Crafts and Trades (HWK) offering them individual support. I recently helped an employee in an electrical craft trade business who had received partial recognition for his training from Ukraine. He was able to make up for the missing knowledge and is now submitting a follow-up application for full recognition. Before this, we applied for the costs to be covered. The business is very interested in the employee taking further qualifications to become a trained skilled worker. This is because he can then be deployed across the full range of work activities on future customer jobs. This is the value which professional recognition adds for the craft trade business.
In how many regions is there currently a UBA business guide and which regions are these? Is the plan to expand the offer further?
Dilek Intepe: There are currently UBA business guides at the Berlin Chamber of Crafts and Trades, at the Munich and Upper Bavaria Chamber of Crafts and Trades, and at the Chamber of Crafts and Trades for the Stuttgart region. Other chambers of crafts and trades have already been made aware of our activities. They see our support work, which extends beyond the official recognition procedure, as adding value for craft trade businesses.
The interview with Dilek Intepe took place in the first half of 2022. She has been a UBA business guide at the Berlin Chamber of Crafts and Trades since 2019. The UBA business guides in the “Professional recognition for business: HWK” project help craft trade businesses to use the tool of professional recognition in order to attract and retain skilled workers.
Information about responsibility for, and details on, the recognition procedure for the German reference occupations is provided in the Profi-Filter here in the professional section and in the Recognition Finder in the Skilled workers section of “Anerkennung in Deutschland”.