Burgbacher: Need for better recognition of foreign vocational qualifications

Conference on helping companies to integrate workers with foreign qualifications into the labour market

Ernst Burgbacher, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and Federal Government Commissioner for SMEs and Tourism, spotlighted the importance of skilled workers living in Germany who have foreign vocational qualifications at today's conference entitled "Skilled workers - Transparency - Respect: tapping the domestic pool of skills".  

The conference brings together representatives of SMEs, academia, business associations, migrants' organisations and chambers of commerce and is focused on meeting the demand for skills by tapping into the pool of workers in Germany holding foreign vocational qualifications.

Parliamentary State Secretary Ernst Burgbacher: "Meeting the demand for skilled workers is a major precondition for growth and prosperity in Germany. Germany can only maintain its position in the face of global competition if it can draw on qualified professionals. “If we are to meet the demand for skills, we need to recognise foreign professional qualifications. Well-trained skilled workers will only enjoy the necessary esteem and respect if there is transparency about the course content of their qualifications and employers understand what skills they have acquired. This forms part of our efforts to integrate these people into the German labour market and society."

The conference aims to discuss problems and ways to improve the recognition of foreign vocational qualifications and to come up with fresh approaches to matching vacancies with applicants holding foreign qualifications. Germany has hidden reserves of skilled labour. The focus here is particularly on the more than 2 million people living in Germany who have acquired a vocational qualification abroad. Many of them have found it virtually impossible to work in their own field of expertise. One reason for this is the lack of transparency about the qualifications and skills acquired in their country of origin. As a result, we are failing to make use of valuable and vitally needed skills which are available on our own front doorstep.

The "BQ-Portal - the information portal for foreign professional qualifications"(www.bq-portal.de), which was launched by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in April 2012, aims to do just this. The BQ-Portal provides authorities, employers and applicants with systematically structured information about foreign vocational training systems and qualifications, and helps them to assess such qualifications.

Further information about the conference is available at www.bq-portal.de.