Training alliance was established by the German government in December 2014. It gathers together leading business associations, trade unions, federal states and the federal employment agency with the aim of strengthening vocational education and training (VET).

The partners in the alliance also contribute to the solutions that enable refugees start their training or work as swiftly as possible.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, federal Education Minister Johanna Wanka and other partners from training alliance discussed refugee integration issues, with the aim of identifying opinions and needs, and seeking the most urgent steps in supporting integration.                                                                                              

Learning German

German language is necessary in order to integrate properly on the labour market: the federal Education Ministry provides EUR 180 million for literacy-promoting projects. German language courses for refugees are available in reception centres, schools and further training centres. With the support of the German adult education association, new courses are being created, along with self-study opportunities, some of them using smartphones. Learning assistants are engaged to help, and apps are available.

Affording protection and giving immigrants a future

‘We are not taking these people because we need workers, but because they need protection’ said Sigmar Gabriel. Demographic developments in Germany mean there are excellent prospects if a large number of newly arrived people are trained as skilled specialists or encouraged to start up their own business. More than half of people coming to Germany are under 25. Johanna Wanka provided information on a range of education and training projects suited to supporting migrants.

Training, recognition and future prospects

The new legal provisions on residency ensure that young refugees are allowed to stay in Germany for the duration of their training course. Both trainees and training companies are guaranteed to be allowed to complete the training. Individuals over 21 will also be allowed to start a training course.

From January 2016 young refugees with tolerated residence status can obtain financial support to help them undertake dual vocational training in the forms of training loans, vocational training support grant, and the new assisted training scheme. To qualify for support they must be in Germany for 15 months, rather than four years required prior to legal changes in August 2015.

Legislation changes from August 2015 also made it easier for asylum seekers and individuals with tolerated residence status to undertake internships and in-company training, since federal employment agency pre-approval is no longer obligatory.

Both practical placements and internships make it easier for refugees to have their professional qualifications recognised.

Upon successful completion of a training course, young refugees will be given a two-year work permit.