Love brought Ghana-born Judith Yawa Aggor-Edorh to Germany and in particular to Mannheim. The man she was later to marry arrived in Germany as a student from Ghana as long as 30 years ago. Judith herself is a qualified customer tailor and has been resident here since 2004. Her first job in Germany was for the US Army in a tailor's workshop that performed alterations for soldiers. She obtained the position via a friend who was already employed there. “We sewed new ranks on the uniforms and carried out alterations,” she relates. She then fell pregnant with her first child and decided to devote all her time to her family.
Despite this, she never lost sight of her aim of becoming a custom tailor. Encouragement came from her eldest son, who asked her one day why she did not continue with the profession in which she had trained in Ghana. “At this point, I took the decision that I would return to work when my son was in Year 5. When he was in Year 3, I submitted an application for recognition of my qualification.”
Natalia Grekova from the Mannheim Rhein-Neckar-Odenwald Chamber of Crafts and Trades supported Judith through the procedure. “She provided me with the most important information.” The first part of the process, submission of certificates and credentials from her home country, turned out to be the most time-consuming stage. “This was because I needed confirmation from the school in Ghana. Although I visited twice, the competent body was unable to provide this.” Judith Yawa Aggor-Edorh can, however, now afford a relaxed smile as she recalls that Ghanean bureaucracy was the major – and indeed the only – challenge during the recognition procedure.
Once the documentation was finally available and had been translated, the chamber of crafts and trades still needed information on the contents of training. For this reason, Judith Yawa Aggor-Edorh completed a skills analysis. This gave her the opportunity to demonstrate her professional competences in a practical manner, and she also received plenty of tips from Brigitte Eppinger, Head of the Guild of Tailors, on matters such as specialist literature, company management and calculation of working time. “I tailored an entire suit, both the trousers and the top.” The outcome was certification of full equivalence of her professional qualification. She was then awarded her recognition notice after a total period of three years.
“My children and I are now happy,” she beams. “Although I’m not from here, I feel that I am integrated into society.” Judith is still searching for a job, but has already made further plans for the future. “I would like to open my own shop when I have gained enough experience.”