The master craftsman is highly respected throughout the world

A trade in hand still finds gold in every land. Training expert, Anna Leonzi Fahlbusch, outlines the value and content of master craftsman training courses.

The head of the vocational education centres in the Education and Technology Centre of the Berlin Chamber of Crafts and Trades provides information about master craftsman training, in discussion with Petra Lang.

Leonzi Fahlbusch, why do qualified skilled craftsmen wish to become a master craftsman?

Anna Leonzi Fahlbusch: There are various reasons for this. For most people taking part in master craftsman training the aim is clear — they want to become self-employed. The master craftsman qualification is effectively the gateway to self-employment. And then of course there are trades which involve hard physical work. A lot of qualified craftsmen want to, and have to, get out of this for health reasons. A master craftsman qualification for example opens up a route into a more commercial sector, as a technician in an operation, or as a project manager in a company.

Imagine the hard work involved, for example, in the scaffolder occupation — many skilled crafts people inevitably have to make a change in this area. A master craftsman qualification also allows skilled crafts people to train young people themselves. The aspiring master craftsmen are trained for this during their course. A few even start a technical degree following the master craftsman examination. For example, there are master carpenters who later on go on to study engineering.

So you are saying you can study after the master craftsman qualification? Is the qualification so highly rated?

Anna Leonzi Fahlbusch:
Yes the training is very demanding. According to the "German Qualification Framework", GQF for short, it is at level 6. This is equivalent to a bachelor's degree. There are eight levels overall. The GQF provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs is used for comparing existing qualifications in Germany to one another. The classification can also be interesting when staying abroad.

For example, it is often unclear whether training is recognised abroad. Or whether a foreign applicant — for example for initial or continuing education and training in Germany — has the necessary competencies. It is a fact, however, that the German Master craftsman certificate is highly regarded all around the world. This is due to what makes it unique. The excellent dual education and training — linking practice and theory — only exists in Germany.

How much do the qualified crafts people have to pay for their master craftsmen training?

Anna Leonzi Fahlbusch:
It varies a lot. Depending on the trade, it can be between €10,000 to €25,000. Various funding methods are available for the master craftsman training. For example, the master craftsman grant, outstanding student scholarships for beneficiaries who achieved particularly good grades in the craftsman examination and the so-called IQ programme for people from a migration background. This program is supported with funding from the Federal Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs and the European Social Fund. It is also possible to gain a development loan from the government-owned German development bank, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.

Does a trade in hand still find gold in every land?

Anna Leonzi Fahlbusch:
Of course, continuing vocational education and training always pays off. Passing the master craftsman training is not merely proof of the highest level of technical competency but, as I have said, a requirement for self-employment. Increasing numbers of well-run skilled crafts companies are unable to find people to take them on. This might be a good route to owning your own business for some of those completing the master craftsman qualification. The issue of a lack of successors is consistently the topic of discussion at our free consultations in the Chamber of Crafts and Trades.

We are happy to help in a mediation role and intensively promote the skilled crafts. Our image campaign shows that the skilled crafts are not solely an area of hard work, but are increasingly linked to the latest technologies. The campaign is already showing some initial successes. Compared to the previous year, we have eight percent more trainees in the Education and Technology Centre of the Berlin Chamber of Crafts and Trades.

Source: (website of the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost), revised by iMOVE, June 2017