Alaa Kheralah arrived in Germany as a refugee from Syria in October 2014. He received recognition for his dental technician training completed in Jordan as early as January 2015.
Dental technician Alaa Kheralah, who is now aged 33, took the decision to leave his homeland of Syria together with his family because of the difficult living conditions in the country. Because his father had studied in Kiel and his brother works as a dentist in Mannheim, Germany was an obvious destination. Prior to Alaa’s arrival, his brother made enquiries to the chamber of crafts and trade regarding opportunities for recognition as a dental technician.
When Alaa arrived in Germany in the autumn of 2014, he immediately contacted the chamber of crafts and trades in Mannheim to initiate his professional recognition procedure. The chamber notified him which documentation he was required to submit. Despite the fact that he spoke not a single word of German when he came to the country, Alaa used the intervening period to undertake a practical placement in a dental laboratory. "My colleagues at the lab made things very easy for me and were extraordinarily friendly and helpful from the outset." Whilst continuing with the practical placement, he also began a language course.
As the recognition procedure went on, it quickly emerged that Alaa Kheralah would need to complete a skills analysis in order to demonstrate the equivalence of his qualification. Important information on the precise contents of his training in Jordan was missing from his paperwork.
The date set for the skills analysis was January 2015. The fact that his German was not good enough at the time did not create a barrier in his case. "The laboratory gave me special permission to complete the analysis in English. That helped me a lot." This was made possible because he has very little customer contact in his profession, which also uses well-known international terminology. The chamber of crafts and trades also recognised just how quickly his knowledge of German had already improved. Another special circumstance was that the skills analysis for dental technicians was designed with him in mind, because Alaa Kheralah was the first person in Germany to undergo such an analysis. Practical tests involving the performance of all the essential activities of a dental technician continued for five days, and Alaa produced exemplary results. The tasks developed will now serve as a reference for future skills analyses.
Once Alaa had been accorded full equivalence of his professional qualification by the chamber of crafts and trades, a number of job offers immediately followed. He was, however, not permitted to enter work at once due to the fact that his asylum application had taken longer than his professional recognition procedure. This created a real challenge for Alaa Kheralah: "It was difficult to stay patient until I finally received a work permit six months later. But I waited, and now everything is fine." The successful completion of his asylum application meant that his wife and four-year old son were able to join him in Germany. Since this time, Alaa Kheralah has been working as a dental technician at the Lusanum Dental Laboratory in Ludwigshafen. "I am extremely happy in my job and am glad that my family is now here too."
Photograph: © Portal “Recognition in Germany“/BIBB
The interview with Alaa Kheralah was conducted in November 2015. He was advised and supported in the recognition of his qualification by the Mannheim Rhein-Neckar-Odenwald Chamber of Crafts and Trades.
It was a real culture shock for Ammar Allaham when he arrived in Germany. However, this friendly Syrian overcame all adversity and is now working as a dental technician once again.