Further training opportunities for international skilled workers

  • 2024-04-30
  • Lisa Priller-Gebhardt
  • Comment
A smiling young man with his colleagues at work
© Getty Images/jacoblund

Language courses, mentoring and seminars in intercultural competence: many further training opportunities are available to international skilled workers wishing to gain a foothold in Germany. The Alumniportal Deutschland even offers some free of charge.

Skilled workers are urgently needed in Germany. Especially in sectors such as science, technology and IT, there was a shortage of more than 300,000 qualified workers in 2023, according to the German Economic Institute. The internationalisation of the world of work has made it possible for more and more in recent years. Often they bring with them specific knowledge and skills they have acquired in their home countries. Nonetheless, they are not always able to begin a successful career in Germany immediately. Further training opportunities tailored to their particular needs are intended to smooth the integration of these skilled workers into the German employment market and improve their career prospects.

In some cases, it may be a question of improving , while in others it may simply be about knowing the easiest way to become integrated into the German employment market. Further training courses provide specialist knowledge and expertise aimed at improving career opportunities. The training on offer covers everything from integration courses and mentoring programmes to language and intercultural courses. Most of these cost money, and some are quite expensive. The Alumniportal Deutschland provides a variety of training opportunities free of charge – we present an overview.

Conversation lessons

The offers free exclusively for members of the Alumniportal Deutschland. “We designed the programme specifically for the ‘Learning German’ section on the Alumniportal website,” explains Kirsten Bencker, project coordinator at the Goethe-Institut and the Alumniportal Deutschland. It is targeted at German learners of different language levels who wish to improve their vocabulary and fluency. “Recently we also began offering courses focused on ‘German for professional purposes’,” says Bencker. German teachers from the Goethe-Institut Munich teach the small groups via Zoom.

Language tandems

This new format, which is likewise on offer free of charge from the Goethe-Institut and the Alumniportal, enables international skilled workers to find other people to talk to in German. They are matched with potential tandem partners via the Alumniportal Deutschland. People interested in taking part enter information there such as their age, cultural background, hobbies and other preferences, which are then used to manually find a good match. “The programme runs for a period of three months. Participants are given a handbook with tips about how best to approach the tandem, such as which is the right platform to use for the sessions and which topics could be discussed,” explains Bencker.

Discussion sessions

The goal of this format, which will be launched in the summer of 2024, is to “give international skilled workers who are working in Germany the chance in relaxed discussion sessions to gain insights into living and working in Germany,” explains Kirsten Bencker from the Goethe-Institut. International alumni who live and work in Germany will be able to report on the challenges and successes they experienced during the integration process. “This will give participants authentic insights,” the programme coordinator says. “From alumni for alumni.”

Mentoring programmes

The Alumniportal Deutschland website also provides a platform for mentors with considerable professional experience to help mentees – those with less experience. Mentees wishing to get started in a profession can receive individual coaching from a mentor. People interested in this type of tandem can register on the Alumniportal. “Members can state there whether they want to be a mentor or a mentee and which topics they wish to address,” says Admir Lleshi, community manager at the . The spectrum ranges from careers and job-specific issues to questions about living in Germany. The system uses the profile data entered to suggest suitable matches.

In addition, organisations such as the and the DAAD offer mentoring programmes specially tailored to the respective organisation’s alumni. Such “structured programmes” tend to run for three to four months and are supervised by Alumniportal staff. “We initiate the matching process, give tips on how to establish a successful mentoring relationship, remind participants about upcoming milestones and obtain feedback so that we can improve and further develop the programme,” explains Lleshi.

Mentees benefit in many different ways from these programmes: for one thing, they receive individual support from experienced alumni. “Mentoring programmes of this kind are particularly helpful in the initial career phase to explore which direction the mentee wants to head,” says Lleshi. What is more, important contact can be established with universities, research institutes and companies. “Because the Alumniportal is an international platform that brings people from all over the world together, the mentors also gain new prospects and interesting impetus,” Lleshi explains. All the above mentoring programmes are free of charge.

Integration seminars and courses

The Goethe-Institut’s  platform provides a free overview of the arrival process in Germany and important addresses. “The project offers comprehensive support for new arrivals in Germany, with information about living and working in Germany, important addresses and information about further training measures such as integration courses,” says Kirsten Bencker. Opportunities to practise their German free of charge help anyone interested to quickly improve their fluency.

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