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including hands-on report and interview with Ursula Hein, project manager of the "Mobile Recognition Advice" subproject at the West German Chambers of Crafts and Skilled Trades’ Council in the Network IQ NRW

Exceptional service for people seeking guidance

The IQ NRW web app is an innovative contribution towards the digitalisation of guidance on recognition and job training.

Starting point/challenge

Until 2017, registering at the mobile advice centre for recognition and job training in North Rhine-Westphalia was only possible via a third party. Advice was offered at job centres, employment agencies, advice centres, continuing education institutions, and fairs.

The aim of those running the IQ advice on recognition and job training in NRW was to offer an additional, wide-ranging service as an alternative for less mobile skilled workers. Those seeking guidance should not have to spend time on an in-person advisory session. At the same time, the advisory services were to be offered at a wider range of locations, which was a particular challenge for the less mobile advisory staff.

Putting the IQ NRW web app into practice

In reaction to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, a digital tool was developed that could collect important preliminary information on an individual, their professional development, necessary certificates and documents, without the need for an in-person appointment, and make this information available to advisers. Translating the questionnaires into ten languages and adapting the questionnaire to the IQ documentation was both highly ambitious and challenging.

Interested parties can register for guidance via the website of the Network IQ NRW. After clicking the registration button, the process can be completed step by step. Ideally, the questionnaire is fully completed in the user’s native language and the uploaded documents contain all necessary details. Generally speaking, advice will then be provided my email, phone, or video chat. Originally intended as a preliminary step to getting advice by phone or email, the web app took on extra significance during the pandemic and was therefore fully revised by the IT and advisory team in 2020.

There are only minor changes to the registration procedure. Instead of giving consent on paper this is now done digitally, and several questions in the data sheet have been rephrased to aid comprehension. The individual cases are read by the advisers directly in the web app and are permanently available to all advisers there in the relevant working area throughout the advisory process. Closed cases can also be accessed. The app now permits full management and documentation of the guidance process.

Conclusion

The web app has been in successful use since 2017 and is increasingly used by both those seeking advice and advisers themselves. Since its extensive development in 2020, the app allows foreign qualifications to be assessed and recognised, even under the challenging pandemic conditions.

Addressees for transfer:

Employment authorities, advice centres, education providers, companies

NRW IQ web app for guidance on recognition

The web app offers access to a database via a browser. It can be used to register, process data, and manage the advisory process. The app assists with the advisory process, independent of the location and time of both those seeking recognition and offering advice. It provides a foundation for digital and phone-based advice and can also be used for face-to-face services.

Project:

IQ NRW – Mobile Anerkennungs- und Qualifizierungsberatung (Mobile Advice on Recognition and Job Training)

Provider:

Westdeutscher Handwerkskammertag (West German Chambers of Crafts and Skilled Trades’ Council), WHKT Düsseldorf

Project contact:

Ursula Hein; WHKT; Volmerswerther Str. 79; 40223 Düsseldorf; Tel.: +49/211/3007724; Email: ursula.hein(at)iq-netzwerk-nrw.de

Provision:

More information on the IQ NRW web app is available at https://www.iq-netzwerk-nrw.de/startseite-webapp-anerkennungserstberatung (in German)