There are many ways in which you can broaden the knowledge you already have: taking part in workshops or further training courses in your company is one good way, as is acquainting yourself with a new area of responsibility by your own means, taking part in an external training course, or studying while holding down your job.
Training on the job
Training on the job means being guided by an experienced co-worker. It means that you can get concrete answers to questions that are currently preoccupying you in your work and which you cannot solve without help. Whatever your job, the content can range from using software specific to your company or dealing with a particular customer right through to oper-ating a new machine. You do not need to attend a training course for every question to suc-ceed in your work.
In-company further training – staying fit for the job
In-company further training offers the advantage that you can usually acquire new skills and apply them to your routine work during your working hours with the help of a seminar tutor. This keeps you fit for your job and also enables you to master new challenges in your work.
In-house further training courses are frequently specifically tailored to employee issues. Depending on the sector and company, courses may range from an introduction to new software or a programming language, right through to public speaking seminars. Courses on stress or conflict management, efficient organisation or learning English are other possibilities among many. The employer frequently pays the costs. In 2013, companies in Germany in-vested more than 33 billion euros in further training courses for their employees, who spent just short of 27 hours in teaching events.
Promotion through further training
In Germany, the trade corporations and chambers of trade and industry offer what are known as Aufstiegsfortbildungen – further training courses to obtain a higher qualification – to take if, for example, you wish to qualify as a master craftsman or woman (Meister/Meisterin) or, in the field of business, as a business administrator (Fachwirt/Fachwirtin). These training cours-es are governed by law and generally end with exams. Only if you pass the exams are you entitled to use the title of Meister or Fachwirt (Meisterin or Fachwirtin for women). More information about promotion opportunities here.
Germany is a very formal country where qualifications are concerned and great value is placed on diplomas. These are not only of use in your CV and when applying for a job; they can in some cases even be a requirement, for example if you wish to assume greater responsibility in a manual trade business or manage a company. It has been the case for several years now that you can, as a rule, take up university studies if you have the title of Meister or Fachwirt.
Studying while working
In Germany, you can study while exercising a profession. To do so, you have various options to choose from: either distance-learning or part-time studying while working.
The advantage of distance-learning is that in many cases you do not need to attend the university very often. You can study anywhere and often only have to travel to the university for the exams. You usually receive the learning material and exercises at home, or you can read and work on them online. With part-time studies, you complement your existing knowledge by attending lectures and events which take place in the evening or at the weekend. There, you come into direct contact with lecturers and fellow students and learn more from and with them. You will usually need a school-leaving diploma (Abitur or equivalent) to do distance-learning or part-time studies at university level.
Adaptation measures for recognition of qualifications
Have you learned a profession outside the EU and want to exercise it in Germany? In many cases, you will need to have your professional qualification recognised in Germany. You will find Information about recognition procedures for foreign professional qualifications here. If you are lacking some qualifications for full recognition, you can do further training in Germany under adaptation measures called Anpassungsqualifizierung. Depending on your profession and level of knowledge, the content of these measures can differ widely. For example, they may consist of learning German in relation to your profession, or deepening your technical or theoretical knowledge. If you successfully complete your course, you can subsequently have your professional qualification recognised as equivalent to a German qualification and exercise your profession in Germany.
Tip: there has been a new residence permit in Germany since 2015 which enables you to undertake this kind of further training to obtain recognition of your qualifications. You can find out in our "Visa" section what you need to remember when applying. While doing your further training, for example in healthcare and geriatric nursing professions, you can work as a nursing assistant. You are also entitled to work in any occupation for up to ten hours a week to support yourself.
Work-related language courses
Do you already speak German and manage very well in everyday life, but are just lacking the right words and technical terms in your job? In that case, you should look around for a work-related language course. Sound technical German skills will not only facilitate relations with your work colleagues, they will also help you display your professional knowledge in meetings, with customers, and in conversations with managers. Moreover, in some professions – such as healthcare and geriatric nursing – you have to provide proof of your knowledge of work-related German to be able to exercise them. You can find out the best way to learn German, who provides courses and what it might cost in our "learning German"section.
Tip: work-related language courses are not only of importance for foreign qualified professionals; many Germans also regularly improve their skills in language courses, for example to refresh their knowledge of English or keep up their skills in another language that they need in their day-to-day work.
Further training is not reserved to the context of work. You can cultivate many of the skills which are advantageous to your career in your private life: for example, you can take ad-vantage of private contacts or language tandems to improve your German. Whether you are learning a foreign language or computer programming out of personal interest, or if you al-ready assume organisational and management tasks in a club, these skills can also help you advance your professional career. It is always worth taking a look at what the 900 and more adult education centres Volkshochschulen – in Germany have to offer. It is worthwhile for foreign students to have a look at the manifold learning opportunities.
The number of digital learning courses is increasing. This can be advantageous for you if you want to learn in a flexible manner- time and location of study. Providers offer different types of courses from which you can choose: e.g. online courses such as MOOCs (massive open online courses), learning platforms or blended learning, and you can also decide to learn with multimedia resources such as DVDs or CDs. The important factor is to choose the course which corresponds to your learning style. While online courses often do not include attendance time and you can learn individually, blended-learning combines E-learning with attendance time.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Recognition in Germany
Find out about procedures for having your professional qualifications recognised (i.a. English, German, Spanish, French)
Adult education centres (Volkshochschulen)
Learn Germans online (i.a. German, English, Spanish, French)
Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK)
Information about online courses (German)