30-year-old Kibrom Gebreyesus fled from his homeland of Eritrea and crossed the Mediterranean Sea to seek a better and more secure life in Germany. He had already completed training in the field of machine technology and was keen to get on with his career. “I thought that I would be able to start work in Germany straightaway. As well as my training, I also have several years of professional experience.” He started the process of obtaining recognition of his vocational qualification one year after his arrival.
“My advice: accept the challenge and show patience!”
Kibrom began with an integration course in order to learn German. After only ten months, he had already achieved level B2. In January 2015, he turned to the recognition guidance service provided by the Hamburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Handelskammer Hamburg). As a result of having fled Eritrea, he did not possess any certificates or documentation of his employment history. Kibrom began to despair. “I tried to get hold of my certificates. But there is a war going on in my home country. I thought that recognition was not going to work out.” However, the Recognition Act allows refugees who have credible reasons for being unable to present documentation to demonstrate their vocational competence by means of a skills analysis.
The Hamburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce built up a picture of Kibrom’s occupational knowledge by conducting a detailed interview with him. Even after he had submitted an application for recognition to the IHK FOSA, the competent authority in this instance, he still continued his endeavours to obtain the relevant certificates. These efforts were, however, in vain, and the IHK FOSA offered him the opportunity to undertake a skills analysis. This took place in November 2016, when he demonstrated his competences to an expert from the Hamburg Waterworks (Hamburger Wasserwerke GmbH). “The skills analysis involves producing a work sample to show what you have learned. One thing that I was required to do, for example, was to convert a hose pump from hand to machine operation and then carry out a functional check.” The result of the skills analysis informed the overall outcome of the process. At the end of the recognition procedure, a notice was issued attesting partial equivalence with the German reference occupation of industrial mechanic.
“Recognition means for me that I can work in Germany in an occupation which I really enjoy.”
The 30-year old Kibrom compensated for the substantial differences identified by attending a three-week course in e-pneumatics and control engineering and by completing a period of five months of refresher training at a waste recycling company (AVG). His daily tasks included the installation/dismantling of machine components and the maintenance, inspection and repair of production machines. The evidence he collected enabled Kibrom Gebreyesus to submit a follow-up application to the IHK FOSA and receive full recognition. And this was not all. The AVG gave him a job as an industrial mechanic, and he has since then been responsible for machine maintenance at the company. Kibrom Gebreyesus is proud that he has been able to persevere. “I didn’t think it was possible, but my life has changed so much. At last I’m able to work in my chosen occupation, and I am really enjoying the work. Recognition is simply part of my life.”