Health and care training in Korea to be strengthened

iMOVE interview with Beate Gröblinghoff, Head of Central Office for VET (Vocational Education and Training), Hamburg Institute for Vocational Education and Training (HIBB), August 2015.

iMOVE: What is the name and background of your organisation?

Gröblinghoff: As a management agency ("Landesbetrieb") owned by the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg, the HIBB currently covers 40 state-run vocational schools with around 3,300 teaching staff and 52,000 students.

The HIBB headquarters are responsible for regulating, advising and supporting schools, for developing vocational training and for supervising educational facilities. This also includes the coordination of international activities in vocational education and training.
trainees from Korea on the job

iMOVE: Which services do you offer in the field of vocational education and training?

Gröblinghoff: The Republic of Korea is seeking to cooperate with German education providers in order to ensure that it can meet its long-term requirements for skilled workers and reduce high levels of unemployment among the youth and academics in its own country.

It has found the solution in Hamburg. In September 2014, the Second Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH) and the education minister of the Republic of Korea signed a cooperation agreement in Hamburg to promote cooperation in vocational education and training. The aim is to gradually develop dual structures based on the German model in Korea. In particular, the practical application of vocational training in Korea is to be strengthened over the long term. The health and care sector is a key area of emphasis here.

iMOVE: What are your experiences with Korea?

Gröblinghoff: Nine apprentices from Deagu Health College in Korea were the first to have the opportunity to become acquainted with the dual vocational education system in Germany during a four-month placement from September to December 2014.

During their stay in Hamburg they worked in three hospitals and attended the vocational college. The scheme was funded by the Korean Ministry of Education. The further education provider "Arbeit und Leben" ("Work and Life") implemented the measures locally.

The instructors praised the commitment, reliability and friendliness of the young apprentices, whilst the latter were very enthusiastic about the practical aspect of their course of study. Since communication skills are very important in the health and care sector when dealing with patients, linguistic competence will have to play a far greater role in the selection of participants in future so that everyone involved can derive more benefit from the scheme.

Similarly in 2015, 20 apprentices came from a number of colleges in Korea to spend four months in Hamburg within the scope of the partnership agreement. After a four-week intensive German course they began their three-month placements in a variety of occupations.

trainees from Korea on the job
iMOVE: Which key service do you provide for the Korean partners?

Gröblinghoff: Train-the-Trainer schemes are also taking place in order to support the reform of the Korean education system at teaching staff level. In June 2015, Sahmyook College in Seoul sent 16 teachers to Hamburg on a one-week advanced training course in five different programmes. The contact came about as a result of the partnership agreement between FHH and the Ministry of Education.

The teachers received further training in the fields of health care provision, dental care, hair & beauty, information technology and kindergarten teacher training. The HIBB was entrusted with the coordination and implementation of the scheme. As more colleges are interested in support in various areas of vocational education, the programme is set to be expanded in the future.

Furthermore, the Consul General of the Republic of Korea would like to recruit about 15 young people from Korea to complete a full-length dual vocational training course in so-called understaffed fields of profession in Hamburg, starting in the vocational training year 2016/17. 28 occupational profiles in four different fields fall into this category, including five in the health and care sector.

Participants are required to have advanced skills in German (language level B2 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), be over 18 years of age, have a secondary school leaving certificate and have full funding in place for their stay (including accommodation, insurance, extra German courses) as well as an apprenticeship contract with a Hamburg company.

The HIBB and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce help to recruit companies willing to train young Korean people. The Korean Ministry of Education duly awards scholarships to fund trainees. The families of the participants are also very keen to see them gain qualifications in Germany, however, and are willing to share in the costs.
Beate Gröblinghoff, Head of Central Office for VET at the Hamburg Institute for Vocational Education and Training (HIBB)
trainees in the classroom
instructor shows the handling of a patient
woman from Korea with a video camera in her hand
Korean trainees receive instruction


logo of the Hamburg Institute for Vocational Education and Training
Hamburg Institute for Vocational Education and Training (HIBB)
Hamburgerstr. 131
22083 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 42863-2627

Contact person:
Beate Gröblinghoff