German language skills are the key to successfully integrating international skilled workers into your company in the long term. You can help your international staff learn German by offering in-house language courses; alternatively, they can attend language courses offered by external providers. Find more information on how to support your qualified professionals down below.
German courses outside the company
Encourage your new recruits to attend a language course. There are numerous federal programmes that support language acquisition:
Integration courses offered by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
Participants in the integration course learn German and gain knowledge of the country. The Federal Office also offers a variety of integration courses tailored to different target groups. Visit the Federal Office's website to find out about applications, procedures, costs, and the duration of each course.
German for professional purposes
This programme, consisting of basic and special modules, seeks to improve the participants' level of language proficiency. Vocational German can be learnt in special modules, e.g. for professions in commerce, trade and technology, warehousing and logistics, and catering. Please note that participants who are already in employment subject to social security contributions are required to pay a contribution to costs per teaching unit. For more information on the programme, please go to the Federal Office's website.
General German courses
The Kursnet portal of the Federal Employment Agency provides information on a wide range of language courses with professional relevance and for different language levels. Both part-time and full-time courses are available; courses are also offered online. Additional language learning opportunities are available at the Deutscher Volkshochschulverband (German Adult Education Association) and the Goethe-Institut.
Tip: Grant your professionals a leave of absence to ensure they have sufficient time to learn the language, if possible. You can also subsidise their participation in language courses.
Learning by doing – learning German at work
In addition to attending language courses, international professionals can also learn the language on the job. Here are some ideas on how you can support your international staff in learning German on the job:
- Find a language course provider or language instructor to provide in-house training.
- Make your employees aware of the difficulties of learning a language.
- Combine specialist learning with language learning, e.g. by providing vocabulary lists containing key terms.
- Provide company documents in simple language.
- Tell your qualified professionals about free online learning opportunities, such as those offered by Deutsche Welle.
Institutions such as the “Competence Centre for Vocational German Language” of the IQ Network provide more information on how you can help your recruits to learn the language on the job.
KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)