Recognition Centre Bremen

The Recognition Centre of the Senator for Economics, Labour and Ports was recently established in 2015 to support labour market inclusion of migrant workers, refugees and individuals who have acquired a qualification in another country than Germany. It provides guidance and counselling for individuals who seek to get recognition and formal accreditation of their foreign qualifications obtained at school, university or through vocational education and training or adult education programmes. Mediating between individuals who seek guidance services and institutions for recognition (such as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Chamber of Crafts), the Recognition Centre identifies German vocational profiles that correspond with the foreign qualifications and guides individuals through the process of recognition, including collecting all the necessary papers and helping them with the formalities.

In most cases, vocational qualifications do not fully match the German requirements so that work experience and informal learning also needs to be taken into account, validated and recognised. In fact, a significant number of individuals, including refugees, do not have or cannot present their certificates of their foreign vocational qualifications so that other procedures need to be identified and supported. While focusing on formal qualifications in the first place, the validation of informally acquired knowledge, skills and competence is a key aspect of the recognition process and the Centre’s work that is of growing importance with the increasing numbers of refugees seeking guidance. Here, the Centre directs and supports people and refers them to other key experts, institutions and partners of the network “Integration through Qualification”. Also in the process of career counselling for labour market inclusion informally acquired competences are taken into account.

All guidance and referral services are free of charge and treated with strict confidentiality. Services are open to all individuals who live or seek employment in the Federal State of Bremen regardless of their nationality and legal status of residence. With the Recognition Centre, the Senator for Econmics, Labour and Ports is a project partner of the Bremen network and support programme “Integration through Qualification” (Förderprogramm “Integration durch Qualifizierung“, IQ). In this framework, the Recognition Centre is funded by the European Social Funds and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and cooperates with the Bremen Chamber of Labour. It has offices and offers services in Bremen (Arbeitnehmerkammer, Bürgerstr. 1, 28195 Bremen) and Bremerhaven (Arbeitsförderungs-Zentrum, Erich-Koch-Weser-Platz 1, 27568 Bremerhaven).

The Recognition Centre also forms part of the Bremen Federal Programme “Weiter mit Bildung und Beratung“ that provides information and guidance on all aspects of vocational continuing education and training. Thus it can revert to an extensive network dealing with training and recognition processes for labour market inclusion. This will be very important for the project to involve other actors.