Vocational Training in Germany for Refugees

The numbers of refugees and internally displaced people have increased in the past years. Contrary to the dominant perception in Europe, 75 % of refugees are hosted in low and middle income countries (UNHCR, 2024). Many of these countries offer little to no rights and refugees are faced with challenges. There are very limited prospects of improving their situation and building a stable life is nearly impossible. All these refugees have skills they want to use and they strive for an improvement of their situation. 

One example is the situation of refugees in Malaysia. Since the country has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees are being registered but not granted any official status. This means that they are unable to work or enroll in government schools “forcing many into situations of exploitation and abuse” (Human Rights Watch, 2022). Iranian refugees cannot even open a bank account, which further impedes finding secure housing or work. 

Due to the demographic change in Germany there is a lack of skilled workers, which will increase even more the next few years. The country’s unique system of vocational training offers more than 300 different highly specific training of high quality. The dual system presents the opportunity to work and study, while earning money. By September 30th 2022 there were 68 868 registered vacant training positions- a number which has constantly increased in the past years (Berufsbildungsbericht 2023) .

Could vocational training in Germany provide a perspective for refugees to migrate to Germany? While studying at university in Germany is costly, the salary of many vocational training covers the costs of living. Finishing the training offers a long term perspective in Germany. The main difficulty is the German language, but the past years have shown that it is possible to learn a language online. 

This project aims at building a bridge for refugees so they can start a vocational training in Germany by supporting them in each of the following steps:

  • Introduction to the vocational training system and orientation which training suits best to the skills and interests of the participants
  • German language classes online up to the level of B1 or B2, depending on the conditions of the selected training
  • Assistance in the process applying for suitable training position and networking with companies
  • Support in all visa issues and the settlement process in Germany

The aim of the project is to empower the participants to realize their potential and build a future for themselves and their families while finding and training new skilled workers so the German economy can face the challenges ahead and build a bright future. 

It is important to note that this project is not meant as an alternative for resettlement, which is crucial and we strongly believe that it is important to increase the numbers of refugees who benefit from it. However, resettlement only offers placements for a very small population of refugees. This is where this project can offer perspectives for those who are not eligible for resettlement. 

The organizers of the project are members of the organization Transnational Community Federation e. V. (TCF) an NGO registered in Germany. TCF was founded in 2021 and has members all over the world, many of them refugees themselves. One of the focusses of the organization is the support of refugees in precarious situations. This way the network has grown constantly especially in the Iranian diaspora in Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. This project now aims at a more permanent improvement of the situations of our members and the refugees we are in touch with. The team is well equipped for carrying out this project because they do not only have experiences with migration regulations and vocational training, but the target group is involved in the design of the project from the beginning. 


UNHCR,2024, https://www.unhcr.org/refugee-statistics/  (accessed on 10.01

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