When he arrived in Germany in 2005, the Recognition Act did not exist. He was not able to have his Croatian training as plant mechanic for sanitary, heating and air conditioning systems or his status as master craftsman recognised. He therefore worked at a level beneath his qualification for a long time.
For Josip Vukoje there was no possibility of recognition for a long time. The Croat arrived in Germany in 2005. His wife was already living here. “It wasn't until I started in a new position that I discovered my certificates were not recognised,” explains Josip Vukoje. Later on, when a work colleague told him about the Recognition Act, he contacted the Munich Chamber of Crafts and Trades to have his certificates recognised there. The Service Centre for Foreign Qualifications advised him during the process. To start with I received recognition of training as a plant mechanic for sanitary, heating and air conditioning systems. Six months later I then also had recognition of the installer and heating fitter master craftsman examination in the bag,” explains the Croat. All he had to do was sit an oral examination to make up for the section on “Vocational and occupational education” which includes the instruction of trainees.
The 39-year-old's work has fundamentally changed since then. “In Croatia I previously worked as a journeyman and had lots of responsibility. Later on in Germany I just worked as a workshop assistant doing simple jobs. In some cases I had more experience than my colleagues. It wasn't easy to feel constantly unchallenged, and of course the pay was also less,” remembers Josip Vukoje. Thanks to the recognition he works independently today and in line with this receives more money as a plant mechanic for sanitary, heating and air conditioning systems.
His professional success has also helped progress on a personal level. “For 31 years I had a severe stammer and the unfamiliar situation in Germany made this worse. However the recognition gave me renewed self-assurance and with it the energy to address this. Just three weeks after attending a ten-day course in the “Del Ferro Institut” in Amsterdam, an organisation which specialises in the therapeutic treatment of people with stammers, I talked about my recognition in front of almost 100 people at an IHK event.”
Josip Vukoje is very positive about the future. “In terms of my family and work everything is now going very smoothly. I've overcome my stammer, and if all goes well, at some point I will also find a master craftsman position.”
The conversation with Josip Vukoje took place in August 2014.