Susanna Kenetti (44) comes from Finland. She is a qualified optician and business economist. She has been living in Berlin for 5 years and runs a Finnish design shop together with her husband. She does not, however, wish to give up being an optician entirely …
Susanna Kenetti - Recognition as optician
You had already worked as an optician for several years before coming to live in Germany …
Yes. I worked full-time again once I had finished my degree. My husband and I then wanted to try something new and we decided to move to Berlin. I don’t wish to give up my profession entirely, however. For this reason, I would now like to work as an optician again, this time on a part-time basis.
That means that you wish to return to your profession and you have started to send out applications?
Yes, exactly. I wanted to return to my profession. Many of those to whom I applied asked about recognition.
What did you do next?
I enquired at the Job Centre, where I found out that the Recognition Act had been in place since 1 April 2012. I then had a meeting at the Chamber of Crafts and Trades during which I discussed my situation with a member of staff.
For the recognition procedure, you then had to provide evidence of the precise components of your training …
It was difficult to find a document. My training was 20 years ago. I telephoned the state nursing and healthcare school in Finland. They found an old curriculum. This was translated and sent to the Guild of Opticians by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce together with my certificates.
What is your advice to other people who wish to undertake such a recognition procedure?
Definitely make sure that you put all the paperwork together properly!
If your knowledge of German is not good, it’s easier to go to the authorities and speak to them directly. They know that you will not understand everything and will help you.
What are you doing currently?
I got my recognition in February.
As I said, I had already started sending out applications last year. Unfortunately, I haven’t got anything so far. There are currently slightly fewer positions available in Berlin than in the autumn. But recognition is helping me on the labour market. I’m sure that I’ll soon be able to find a part-time job as an optician.
How did you feel when you first came to live in Germany? Was it difficult to make a new start?
There weren’t too many problems. We thought that we may have some difficulties with the authorities. We went everywhere in person, however, and everything worked out fine.
We had often visited Berlin and had some friends here. My husband has also exhibited at the Berlin Art Forum. We were familiar with the city. This is why we opted for Berlin ...
Was the decision to come to Germany also an economic one?
No. It was more of a risk. I was earning quite well in Finland, and my husband had his own company.
Berlin is poor, and you need time to set up a new company here. It was difficult financially, but the city is attractive and we feel at home here.
Finally, please tell us what you enjoy the most here.
(laughs) The summer is much longer than in Finland …
Mrs. Kenetti, thank you for the interview!
Susanna Kenetti lives in Berlin with her husband and their daughter and is currently looking for a job. She wishes to work as an optician on a part-time basis. The interview was conducted in March 2013.
She received particular help and active support with her recognition procedure from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Berlin.