Samar Ismail started a new life with her family in Germany in 2016. Thanks to recognition, Samar is able to practise the profession she loves in her new home. Engineer
“For me, recognition means starting out in a new life.”
“Germany is an attractive country for engineers. However, the main thing is I can live here in safety and provide my children with the opportunity of education,” says Samar Ismail. This was why the 37-year-old came to Germany with her husband and twin daughters in 2016. Back home in Syria, she had studied engineering and gained some years of professional experience. Samer Ismail started work in an engineering office in Damascus. She then joined the General Company for Engineering and Consulting – a major state-owned organisation. However, life in her home country then became increasingly dangerous. Samar Ismail therefore sought shelter with her family in Turkey in 2014. But in Turkey there were no career prospects for her and her husband.
When Samar Ismail finally came to Germany with her family she was clear about one thing: “We have to learn the language. Without speaking German we will never properly settle here.” So first of all she went to a language school in Trier. Samar Ismail quickly achieved language level B1. A Caritas contact advised her to get in touch with the organisation Palais e.V. This is part of the Rhineland -Palatinate IQ network and offers advice on recognition and training.
Samar Ismail got to know her adviser Achim Hettinger through Palais e.V in September 2017. “I’d really struck lucky with him. He was and is a major help.” The adviser recommended to Samar Ismail that she should arrange for recognition of her professional qualification from Syria. He explained that recognition would allow her to work in a profession which was right for her training. The adviser also found a translator for the Syrian certificates. The job centre covered the cost of this. Next, with the adviser’s help, Samar Ismail gathered the documents needed for recognition. She submitted the full application for recognition to the Rhineland-Palatinate Chamber of Engineers in November 2017. “The recognition of engineering professions is generally straightforward. Samar Ismail also met all the requirements,” explains Achim Hettinger. In particular, this concerned the language certificate at level B1 along with other documents. The Chamber of Engineers will only accept applications for recognition with the language certificate.
Samar received recognition as an engineer in March 2018. A reason to celebrate! “I had a party that evening,” recalls Samar Ismail.
However, it very quickly became clear to Samar Ismail that recognition alone would not be sufficient: Up-to-date continuing vocational education and training would certainly be very helpful when seeking a permanent position as an engineer. However, continuing vocational education and training courses cost money. The job centre generally covers the cost of these. And this was the case here. From May 2020 to September 2020, Samar Ismail took part in a series of continuing vocational education training courses and learned to use the design programs. These are specific software programs for engineers such as ArchiCAD, AutoCAD and Revit.
With this new knowledge and now with very good German skills at level C1, Samar Ismail applied to a number of companies. She came to the attention of Geotechnik, a company based in Trier, in a brochure from Rhineland -Palatinate Network IQ. Along with other profiles, this also included Samar Ismail's story. Geotechnik GmbH employed her after just two weeks, initially for a three-month trial.
“Settling in was really tough. Everything was totally new for me. I had 100 questions for my colleagues every day. But they were all very helpful,” says Samar Ismail. At the end of the trial period in November 2021, the boss arrived with good news: a permanent contract for a full-time position.
“Everything had turned out well. I'm delighted. My children are happy in school. My work gives me confidence. I'm also in contact with Germans outside work and am improving my German every day. Coming to Germany was the right step to take. As was going through with the recognition,” says Samar Ismail. And she's looking to improve things further. “I'm not yet totally finished and want to be more secure in my work. I would like to plan supply lines myself and prepare cost statements, in the way that proper engineers do.” She is convinced that she can achieve this. That's also because she knows that other people will help her.
The interview with Samar Ismail was conducted in January 2022. Palais e.V. advised and supported her in the recognition procedure. The association is part of Rhineland-Palatinate Network IQ. The job centre covered the costs of the continuing vocational education and training.