4. Vocational orientation

The right training for you

© monkey-business – Fotolia.com
© monkey-business – Fotolia.com

In adult life, work plays an important role and takes up a lot of your time. On the one hand it should cover your living expenses, but it should also be fun. Therefore think carefully about exactly what interests you have before you decide on an education and a future career.

What can you do well?

Among the more than 300 professions, there is certainly also the right one for you. The following questions can help you in choosing a career:

  • What is fun for you?
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Which subjects do you find easiest?
  • What do other people think you are good at?

Write your answers down. Talk to friends or with your teachers. How do they see you? What can they recommend you? Do you know people who are already working or studying? Ask them questions, too. They can surely give you tips.

What job suits you?

If you know your strengths and interests, think about which professions could go well with them. In the Professional Information Center (BIZ) of the Employment Agency, you can inform yourself about the various professions and seek advice. There is a BIZ near you.

Also the Youth Migration Services, the immigration authorities and some associations offer assistance for vocational orientation. However, you can also directly inquire at a company. That way you can check for apprenticeships at the same time.

Visiting an education fair may also be worthwhile. This is where companies that offer apprenticeships showcase themselves. You can socialize and ask questions about the profession and the training company. You can find out when an education fair is happening near you at a local work agency or the job center.

The Internet also provides information on vocations. Most of the pages are in German, but some also offer information in other languages:

Information from the Employment Agency (German)

Information and advisory services from the Employment Agency (German, English, French)

Information from the Federal Ministry of Economics, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment Agency among others for training and work in Germany (German, English, French, Spanish)

Information from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment Agency on training in Germany and particularly popular professions (German, English)

Information from the Goethe Institute on studying and training in Germany (in multiple languages)

Recognition of foreign qualifications

You can get your studies or your training from your country of origin recognized. A check will be made to see which German qualification your qualifications to date correspond to.

If you have not completed the school before your departure to Germany, your school will rank you in a class.

Multilingual information on the recognition of qualifications and advisory services can be found under: www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de

Try out an internship

In an internship you work a few weeks or months in a company and can thus get to know a profession before you decide what kind of education you want. However, there are several things to consider:

  • An internship should not last longer than three months, unless it is part of your schooling or your studies.
  • For an internship, learning is paramount. You should not replace a full member of staff, nor spend all day photocopying and making coffee.
  • Interns often receive little money for their work. It is therefore particularly important that you learn something while you are there and are not be abused as cheap labor.
  • For an internship, there is an internship contract.

Checklist “What belongs in an internship contract?”

  • Beginning and end of the internship
  • Description of your activities
  • Internship remuneration
  • Internship supervisor or mentor
  • Vacation period
  • Notice periods
  • Note on collective wage agreements or bargaining agreements governing the enterprise
  • Provisions for sick leave

At the end of your internship you will receive a certificate, in which your internship and the skills learned are described. The certificate provides you with proof for applications.

Your internship remuneration should not be less than 300 euros per month. It is even better if it is based on the training allowances at your workplace. If you are working full time, the money has to be enough to cover your living expenses. Depending how much you earn, social security and tax charges may apply. These will already be deducted from your income in your paycheck.

If you have questions about your internship, consult your competent union. They can also check your internship contract and your internship certificate for you, and represent your interests to your employer.

5. Applications