The Cottbus Chamber of Crafts provides practice-oriented supplementation to Polish vocational education and training.
iMOVE: What is the name and background of your organisation?
Deutscher: The Cottbus Chamber of Crafts (HWK Cottbus), established in 1953, has been intensively promoting vocational education and training in the crafts since the German reunification. Some 10,300 trade businesses with a total of 40,000 employees are currently active within the Cottbus Chamber of Crafts district. More than 1,600 apprenticeship contracts are registered in the chamber district. Amongst other things, the chamber advises the businesses in issues regarding business management, the law governing the crafts and foreign trade activities, environmental issues and with respect to the provision of vocational education and training.
iMOVE: Which services do you offer in the field of vocational education and training?
Deutscher: In the mid-1990s, the chamber established two training centres. At the training building yard in Großräschen, course participants receive practical training for professions in the construction trades, for example, plasterer, road builder and roofer. Moreover, this is a Germany-wide unique training facility in as far as it provides vocational training and continuing education for building cleaners under realistic operating conditions. The vocational training and technology centre in Cottbus-Gallinchen provides vocational training and continuing education in the fields of wood and metal working as well as automotive and electronics. In 2013, both training facilities combined carried out 534 training courses for inter-company training of apprentices (ÜLU) with a total of 3,922 course participants.
iMOVE: What are your international business experiences?
Deutscher: Also since the 1990s, the Cottbus Chamber of Crafts has been maintaining co-operative relations with international partners, especially with its neighbours from Poland. The chamber has launched the German-Polish project "Intensification of cross-border economic relations in the crafts by way of measures for ensuring the skilled labour supply". The project is scheduled until end of March 2015 and aims at identifying and systematically further developing solutions for counteracting the skilled labour shortage in the joint economic region. While many German businesses search in vain for skilled personnel, many Poles look for jobs and Polish young people search for an apprenticeship placement. The chamber works towards bringing together these respective parties.
iMOVE: Which key service do you provide for a successful cooperation with international partners?
Deutscher: Since 2013, the Cottbus Chamber of Crafts has been implementing traineeships for Polish young people in the field of trade occupations on behalf of Polish vocational colleges and technical secondary schools. In doing so, the chamber of crafts can rely on its own personnel with its good command of the Polish language. In Cottbus, the Polish trainee groups receive training in particular with respect to practical skills to supplement the rather more theoretical vocational education and training provision in Poland in a meaningful manner. For instance, future IT engineers from the Vocational College for Telecommunication in Poznań, Poland, get to build small processors, which they then program and link together in a network. In addition to practical training, the trainees receive a certificate issued by the German chamber of crafts upon conclusion of the traineeship.