Three skilled workers originating from Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, and Poland are working at Horst Busch Elektro-Technik GmbH in Hamburg. The company specifically recruits skilled workers who have obtained their professional qualifications abroad. Contrary to all fears surrounding the assessment of skills or possible cultural misunderstandings, the company has had very good experiences with this recruitment strategy. Horst Busch Elektro-Technik GmbH does not only facilitate the professional recognition of employees who hold foreign qualifications – it also covers the associated costs of the recognition process. This Hamburg-based electrical company is feeling confident: given the shortage of qualified personnel in this field, this investment will pay off in no time.
“It is something we have to deal with sooner or later.”
Horst Busch Elektro-Technik GmbH is an industry leader in the recognition of professional qualifications. The numbers of applicants for electrician roles have been falling for years. The Horst Busch group, however, has recognised the signs of the times, and is now focusing on recruiting applicants with foreign professional qualifications. Michael Gantenberg, an authorised representative of the group, is convinced this is the right way forward – “it is something we have to deal with sooner or later.” An ever-increasing number of applications from people with qualifications obtained abroad are landing on his desk. Meanwhile, the initial scepticism surrounding qualifications obtained abroad has now subsided; Michael Gantenberg is inviting more and more applicants with foreign qualifications to come in for an interview.
A worthwhile and future-thinking experiment
The company’s first encounter with applicants holding non-German qualifications came in 2013. Thanks to their cooperation with regional educational institutions, applications from Bulgarian Angel Rangelov and Lukasz Sobiegraj from Poland found their way to Horst Busch Elektro-Technik GmbH. Both already had basic German language skills and the right professional skills. The company recognised their potential: Lukasz Sobiegraj was given a job right away, while Bulgarian Angel Ramelow was initially offered a trial placement. For 47-year-old Angel Ramelow, this was a real stroke of luck. When he first came to Germany from Bulgaria back in 2005, he had great difficulty finding his feet in the profession he was trained for. He kept his head above water with temporary jobs in the construction sector. This trial placement provided the opportunity for him to impress Michael Gantenberg with his competence as an electrician, and today he is an indispensable member of the team.
The recognition process as a guarantee of quality
Thanks to the EU directive that guarantees free movement for people within the EU, these three specialists did not require any specific work permits to work in Germany. The recognition process itself is not actually required, either. Nevertheless, Gantenberg supports and finances the formal recognition of their foreign professional qualifications. He wants to improve the perception of these three employees in the eyes of customers and assure them of a high quality of work. This allows him to involve the employees with foreign professional qualifications in any project, and all liability issues are resolved from the outset. Michael Gantenberg knows of few companies who use the recognition procedure to secure skilled personnel in the same way as Horst Busch Elektro-Technik GmbH. He can recommend this strategy and also praises the collaboration with the regional Chamber of Skilled Crafts in Hamburg. His skilled employees were well advised: two of them have had full recognition for their qualifications since 2014.
Hamburg’s multicultural environment makes integration easier
Lukasz Sobiegraj and Angel Rangelow are now well integrated into everyday working life at the Horst Busch group. The multicultural environment in the city of Hamburg makes it easy for foreign professionals to settle in. Regular discussions and training at the company ensure that the entire workforce works well together and everyone is happy.
Currently there are applications from Poland, Spain, and Portugal lying on Markus Gantenberg’s desk. He will take a close look at their documents and examine the skills and qualifications of these applicants.
A quick overview
Sector: Electrical sector
Recognised profession: Electronics technician for energy and building technology
Number of employees: 81