Azem Ceka is a car varnisher who came to Germany in 1998. He worked as a salaried employee before starting his own business. Recognition has enabled him to acquire a master craftsman qualification.
Azem Ceka left his homeland in the former Yugoslavia as long ago as 1998, immediately upon completion of his training as a car varnisher. “We had a lot of acquaintances in Germany, none of whom had a bad word to say about the country,” he relates. Apart from good career prospects, the main aspects which attracted him were “the reliability and punctuality and the many opportunities to learn new things”. He quickly found a job in a car varnishing shop. “Everything was just as I had imagined,” says Azem, who is now 36 years old. For this reason, he did not look into obtaining recognition for his vocational qualification. This only became significant when he decided to become self-employed. He was not permitted to start his own company if no master craftsman was working there. This forced him to employ a master craftsman. “First of all, this cost me a lot of money,” he relates. “Also, despite having my own business, I was still dependent on others.”
In order to change this situation, he initiated a recognition process. He began by contacting the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts and Trades. “They were able to supply me with all the answers I needed.” Once he had submitted his training certificate and an advanced diploma acquired in Macedonia in 2007, the Chamber of Crafts and Trades requested further documents giving information on the contents of his training for the purpose of conducting an equivalence assessment. Because he was unable to obtain any further information from his former homeland, the Chamber of Crafts and Trades suggested a skills analysis, i.e. a practical opportunity to demonstrate that he was in possession of the competences required for Parts 1 and 2 of the master craftsman examination.
Azem Ceka decided to pursue this option. Following preparatory technical discussions with the master craftsman from the Hamburg Guild of Painters and Varnishers responsible for implementing the process, the skills analysis began. His tasks were to work on a car door, recognise different types of plastic and explain how they should be repaired and carry out a “spot repair” to a bumper. Azem adopts a confident tone: “Because I had been working in the car varnishing branch for over ten years, this was no problem for me in terms of the skills required.” Two weeks after the skills analysis, he received his recognition notice.
The subsequent route to full equivalence was, however, somewhat more difficult. He attended an evening course to prepare him for the master craftsman examination. “Because of my language difficulties, I had to spend plenty of time practising German with my wife,” he recalls. However, he was ultimately able to overcome this hurdle and successfully completed both the written and oral examination. Having achieved full equivalence with the master craftsman qualification, he now has the next goal in mind. “I want to expand my company and train apprentices.”
The interview with Azem Ceka was conducted in June 2016. He received advice and support for the recognition of his qualification from the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts and Trades.