Bridge training schemes in the Network "Integration through Qualification (IQ)"

Anyone with a foreign professional qualification can take part in one of the more than 100 bridge training schemes offered by the Network IQ. The training schemes can be carried out as courses or directly in the company - depending on the content and the job. With the IQ bridge training schemes, the Network IQ helps people to find a job in the trade that they have learned. Many of the IQ training offerings start where the recognition process stops. In other words, precisely where the recognition authority comes to the conclusion that there are "considerable differences" between the foreign qualification and the German reference profession. IQ training projects are meant to teach the necessary knowledge to compensate for these differences. This compensation is a requirement for full professional recognition which, in regulated professions is a necessary prerequisite to practice the job itself. Competent authorities, regulated and non-regulated profession - you are bound to be asking yourself what this all means? Read here for more information on the recognition process. 

In regulated professions – for example, these include many health, social work or teaching professions – the Network IQ offers, among other things, preparation courses for an assessment test, aptitude test or so-called adaptation courses. 
In the non-regulated professions – for example, the apprenticeships covered by the dual training system of vocational education such as office clerk, electronics technician. etc. – the Network IQ offers so-called adjustment qualifications. In order to do this, the Network IQ usually cooperates with companies and - depending on the job - Chambers of Trade [Handwerkskammern (HWK)] or Chambers of Industry and Commerce [Industrie- und Handelskammern (IHK)].

Furthermore, in non-regulated professions, people whose application for recognition has been rejected ("negative decision") or whose application has little prospect of success from the very start ("negative prognosis") can take part in a so-called external examination [Externenprüfung]. Through this examination, they may acquire a German vocational qualification. The Network IQ offers courses to prepare for the external examination.

Anyone with an academic degree in a non-regulated profession (such as economics, psychology or German studies) cannot and does not need to apply for recognition. The Network IQ offers these academics so-called bridge measures for academics. These bridge measures for academics focus on conveying language-related or technical knowledge which will make it easier for the applicant to find and perform a job appropriate to his or her education. The IQ Network often carries out these bridge measures for academics in cooperation with universities or other institutions of higher education.

Currently, most IQ training schemes are aimed at people in health professions, which are regulated. For example, there are preparatory courses for the assessment test or the language test for doctors. In 146 projects, the Network IQ is constantly testing and developing model approaches for "qualification in the context of the recognition process" (a new field of further education that only came into being in 2012 when the recognition legislation was passed in Germany) and expanding their scope to cover more and more professions. Almost all of the abovementioned training offerings also teach work-related knowledge of German.

Incidentally: The IQ services are irrespective of residency status and nationality. Refugees and asylum seekers can also take part in the training schemes.

IQ bridge training schemes are free of charge

Participation in the IQ bridge training schemes is free of charge. Moreover the state can cover certain additional costs - such as teaching materials or travel expenses - for people who receive government assistance (for example, under Social Code Book II or III). Under certain circumstances, the Network IQ can cover these costs for people who do not receive any government assistance.

Virtual learning

Some courses are mostly conducted online. Therefore, they make it possible also for employed people to participate.

More information

If you want to find out more about participation conditions, requirements and the content of the IQ training schemes, please contact the organisation carrying out the project. The IQ Competence Centre "Counselling and Job Training of Migrants" supports the organisations carrying out IQ training projects. Beside organising forums for networking and exchange, the competence centre also offers relevant materials, training courses for counsellors and trainers as well as other activities for quality development.

Explanations of some technical terms

Bridge training / Brückenmaßnahme

Bridge training s a generic term which is usually adopted to refer to all IQ training schemes in the context of the Recognition Act. However, there are significant differences concerning the type, the objective and the area of application of such training schemes. The following list provides further insights into these distinctions.

Assessment test / Kenntnisprüfung (regulated professions)

The assessment test can be used to harmonize "considerable differences" between the foreign professional qualification and the German reference profession. It checks whether the applicant has the knowledge, capabilities and skills needed to do the job. The contents of the examination come from the key subjects of vocational training. In addition, another subject or interdisciplinary subject can be examined in which considerable differences were noted. The assessment test is used in regulated professions.

Aptitude test / Eignungsprüfung (regulated professions)

The aptitude test can be used to harmonize "considerable differences" between the foreign professional qualification and the German reference profession. Only that knowledge, capabilities and skills are examined for which the competent recognition authority has identified "considerable differences" in the decision. The aptitude test is used in regulated professions.

Adjustment course / Anpassungslehrgang (regulated professions)

As part of an adjustment course, the applicant performs a regulated profession under the supervision of a qualified member of the profession. The adjustment course can go hand in hand with theoretical supplementary training. An adjustment course only catches up on professional qualifications that the applicant does not have or cannot prove, on the basis of the decision by the competent recognition authority.

Adjustment qualification / Anpassungsqualifizierung (non-regulated professions)

A compensatory measure in the non-regulated sector is called an adjustment qualification. An adjustment qualification is a measure - for example a course - to catch up on the considerable differences noted in the decision. After completing the adjustment qualification, a follow-on application must be submitted so that the full equivalence can be certified.

External examination / Externenprüfung (non-regulated professions)

People who are not apprentices can earn a qualification in a recognised apprenticeship profession within the German dual system of vocational training by means of an external examination, if they have previously worked in this field. For admission to the external examination, a candidate must prove that they have 4.5 years' work experience for a three-year apprenticeship profession and three years' experience for a two-year apprenticeship profession. Apprenticeship times in other vocational training professions, foreign qualifications and work experience abroad are also taken into account.

Bridge measure for academics / Brückenmaßnahme (non-regulated professions)

Bridge measures for academics in non-regulated professions are not designed to harmonize considerable differences and are thus not directly linked to a recognition process. The aim of such training schemes is to improve the opportunities for integration in the German labour market. The Network IQ offers bridge measures only for non-regulated academic professions. Linguistic and technical content is taught.