Eric Appiah is a trained electrician. He worked as an electrical fitter in his home country of Ghana for a considerable period of time. In December 2014, he arrived in the Saarland with his German wife to make a new life both privately and professionally. For Eric Appiah, this was the beginning of a long road which was ultimately to lead to permanent employment with chances of advancement.
“My advice: don’t give up, recognition is very important!”
31-year old Eric had already achieved an A1 certificate from the Goethe-Institut in Ghana. His wife and her family also acted as ideal “language teachers”. Once in Germany, he went on to complete a B1 course whilst at the same time using his Ghanaian qualification to submit job applications. 64 applications produced a sobering result in the form of many rejections and only two interviews. Eric was unable to secure a job. “I was frustrated and didn’t know what to do.” When he finally obtained work as a temporary electrical employee at the Saarbrücken-based company f-tronic, he realised that his long-term aim needed to be to secure employment that was in line with his qualification.
He attended an information event staged by saar.is saarland.innovation&standort e. V., where he heard for the first time about the possibility of gaining recognition for foreign vocational qualifications. Detailed consultations then took place with the recognition guidance services provided by saar.is and by the Saarland Chamber of Crafts and Trades in its capacity as the competent authority. With the support of Dr. Klaus Meier (Chamber of Crafts and Trades), Eric Appiah was ultimately able to carry out the extensive research required to collate the documents necessary for an equivalence assessment. He also arranged for this documentation to be translated.
He submitted an application for recognition in January 2016 and received a notice certifying partial recognition shortly afterwards. In order to obtain full recognition, Eric needed to compensate for the substantial differences which had been identified. Eric Appiah turned to saar.is once more, and subsequently received support and coaching during his refresher training from the training agent Ayodeji Olusanmi. This process involved three inter-company periods of apprentice instruction on various training contents which were arranged and carried out at the Saarland Chamber of Crafts and Trades.
Eric Appiah received the full backing of his employer from the very outset. “I was given a great deal of support during this time. I was granted leave for the training periods, and my opportunities for deployment at the company were then extended.” All the effort paid off. In June 2017, Eric Appiah both obtained full recognition and was promoted to skilled worker status at his firm. He has been working in the Production Department ever since. “My life is now better. Recognition has certified what I learned in my home country. This has provided much greater opportunities to be employed in line with my qualification.” Eric is grateful for the support he has been given. The fees for the first application for recognition were paid by the Saarbrücken Job Centre, whilst saar.is covered the costs of training and of the follow-up application.
The interview with Eric Appiah was conducted in February 2018. He was advised and supported in the recognition procedure by the Saarland Chamber of Crafts and Trades in its capacity as the competent authority, by saar.is saarland.innovation&standort e. V. within the scope of the sub-projects for the utilisation of foreign qualifications (SEAQ) and by the training agent for dual occupations at the IQ Network Saarland.