Jigar Hasso is a trained cook who fled to Germany from Syria in 2013. In 2015, he obtained recognition of his vocational qualification via a skills analysis.
Jigar Hasso is a trained cook who was forced to flee his homeland of Syria in 2013 because of war. He came to Germany because his elder brother was already living in the country and applied for asylum in Dortmund. Jigar is a young man who displays an open attitude. "I actively tried to become integrated from the very outset and wanted to understand German ways and customs."
Nine months later, the Employment Agency arranged for him to move into a flat in Duisburg and he immediately signed up at a language school. This proved an important step, and not just in terms of improving his knowledge of German. A fellow pupil at the school from Poland told him that her boyfriend was working as a cook at a restaurant. "I sent off an application to the same restaurant and actually got a job," says Jigar, who is now 25 years old. Some time later, he learned that the brother and sister of his Polish acquaintance were working at the Romantik Hotel Achterdiek on the East Frisian island of Juist. Without further ado, he used his new contacts to get work on a trial basis and proved successful in his endeavour. His trump cards were his good knowledge of German, good manners and an idea to add Syrian dishes to the hotel menu. Since this time, he has been living on the island together with his partner. At first glance, Jigar’s story seems to be a classic tale of success. However, he was initially only employed as an assistant cook because his vocational qualification had not been recognised.
Thanks to his brother, he had known all along that occupational recognition would increase his chances of being employed as a cook. "For this reason, I had already arranged for my final diploma, my upper secondary school qualification and my certificates to be translated whilst I was still in Syria." He submitted an application for an equivalence assessment to the IHK FOSA, the Foreign Skills Approval Competence Centre of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry). However, he was not in possession of any documents providing information on the contents of his state-recognised training in Syria, and all research in this regard proved fruitless. "Information procurement was the greatest challenge of the recognition procedure," says Jigar’s boss Stefan Danzer. Because the necessary evidence of training contents was unavailable following his flight from Syria, he was offered the chance within the scope of the recognition process to give a practically oriented demonstration of his occupational qualifications to experts in the field in the form of a so-called skills analysis. This opportunity is afforded by the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG) in circumstances where (some) documents relevant to the procedure are unobtainable for reasons which are not the fault of the applicant.
Jigar’s skills analysis took place in the commercial-scale kitchen at a vocational school in Emden, i.e. under real working conditions encountered in a hotel or restaurant business. It comprised a work sample (preparation of a three-course menu) and a specialist oral examination. The result of the skills analysis formed the basis for the outcome of the recognition procedure. Jigar Hasso received a recognition notice attesting full equivalence. "I am glad that the whole of the bureaucratic process is now behind me," he is relieved to admit. Jigar has a leading and responsible role in his team. This makes him feel good, but he is not yet ready to rest on his laurels. His next goal is to pass the Trainer Aptitude Examination with a view to ultimately becoming a master chef.
Photograph: © Portal “Recognition in Germany“/BIBB
The interview with Jigar Hasso was conducted in June 2016. He received advice and support for the recognition of his qualification from the Emden Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Judith Yawa Aggor-Edorh has lived in Germany since 2004. She has started a family here and also obtained recognition for her Ghanean qualification in order to be able to work as a custom tailor.