The Network “Integration through Qualification” (IQ)
Submitted by: Jürgen Schröder, Desk Officer, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Unit “Basic Aspects of Migration and Integration Policy”
Introduction to the project
Network IQ has been running from 2015 to 2018.
In January 2019, a new funding round started and will fund the Network IQ until December 2022.
The Network IQ improves employment opportunities for refugees appropriate to professional qualifications acquired in countries of origin, regardless of their residence status.
The Network IQ enhances job opportunities for refugees and aims at their inclusion in the German labour market. Once being integrated into the labour market, refugees ease economic pressures of the host country by economic inclusion. Entrepreneurship is another topic that is tackled by the Network IQ and offers support structures and information to refugees with entrepreneurial expertise. Practical knowledge and gained expertise in recognition procedures is shared widely between all stakeholders within the federal-wide working Network IQ and contributes to the sharing of responsibilities between partners.
Within the IQ counselling sessions on credential’s recognition, refugees receive information on support structures and employment possibilities. They broaden their knowledge with regards to regulations on the labour market. Through mentoring and coaching sessions they receive orientation and information on the educational system as well as procedures on how to find a job and on how to successfully navigate through the labour market until they find a job appropriate to the qualification level acquired in their countries of origin.
The Network IQ’s offers, such as job and bridge trainings are open to all genders and add to the women’s economic empowerment, and also to the cross-cutting areas age, gender and diversity.
An objective of central importance is that occupational qualifications acquired outside Germany lead to employment appropriate to one’s level of education.
The Federal Recognition Act has been effective since 2012 and gives rights to every individual to gain full recognition of one’s professional qualification gained abroad. Thus, this law is open to refugees as well and gives them ground for the counselling on credential’s recognition, and job and bridge trainings being offered federal-wide by the Network IQ.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Network IQ promotes and supports refugees’ inclusion into the labour market, with guidance and integration in four priority areas:
1) Counselling on recognition of foreign credentials and counselling on job trainings.
IQ counselling supports recognition procedures and helps refugees choose job trainings appropriate for qualifications gained abroad.
2) Qualifications in the context of the Federal Recognition Act.
Refugees have the opportunity to take part in IQ job and bridge trainings as part of the credentials recognition procedure. IQ trainings fill skills gaps and aim at full equivalence, i.e. recognition of foreign certificates, and thus target employment appropriate to the qualification gained abroad.
3) IQ intercultural training courses reach administrators and service providers in German Employment Offices and sensitize them with special regard to refugees and asylum-seekers.
4) The Network IQ offers a further 50 projects such as competence assessment, mentoring and coaching for refugees.
- Federal Agency for Employment, Germany
- European Social Fund
- Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany
Challenges and how they were overcome
Triggered by the increasing number of refugees, the workload for practitioners, local authorities and staff in the public employment services were challenging at times.
The Network’s nation-wide structure, which includes practitioners, experts, business promoters, public employment services, and policy-makers, proved to be very helpful in overcoming challenges. The Network IQ’s success is based on close communication and an ongoing exchange of expertise, knowledge, and work experience from the operational to the policy level, including a comparative perspective of the federal states.
Results of the Good Practice
- 63,487 counselling sessions with refugees on credentials obtained abroad (of a total 194,568 initial counselling sessions including other groups of migrants).
- 3,549 refugees (of a total 15,556 participants) have undertaken job and bridge trainings in order to receive full recognition of their professional qualifications acquired abroad.
- 2,747 refugees were empowered by close mentoring, coaching and competence assessments.
- Host community: 13,247 administrators and service providers in German Employment Offices have been trained in intercultural communication with a special regard to refugees and asylum-seekers.
The funding of the Network IQ has been expanded for another four years: from 2019 until 2022. The Network IQ’s offers are currently open to refugees, newcomers and migrants in general. A stronger focus will be taken with regards to fair integration and the counselling of refugees about labour rights in Germany