Real people telling their own true stories.

After fleeing Eritrea, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, four young men took up training at Siemens AG in Germany. They chose to train in the electrical and metalworking industry, but there are many other sectors to choose from: approx. 330 recognised occupations, 17,000 courses of study and 350 school-based training programmes are available. The hard part is deciding.



1 Here we are!

Why are we here and what do we want for our future?
parallax background

„My name is Moeoud. I’m 30 years old and come from Iran.

I’ve been in Germany since 2014. In my home country, I studied electrical engineering. I like to travel and play football, and I teach Farsi in my spare time. I’m here because there were a lot of problems in my home country.“

What is different in Germany?
I can take the time to think about my future, so I have lots of opportunities to live a good life.
What problems were there and how did you solve them?
I didn’t speak German well at the beginning. Then I took German lessons, and now I find it easier.
What sort of future would you like?
I would like to have a good job.
parallax background

„My name is Abdel Rahman and I’m 20 years old. I came to Germany from Syria in 2013.

In my home country, I attended year 11 of an upper secondary school. My hobbies are fitness training, football and swimming. I would like to live in Germany, do vocational training and, of course, work.“

What is different in Germany?
The school system is different. For example, in Syria, the education does not include practical work and theory.
What problems were there and how did you solve them?
The technical terminology was very complicated at the start, but it became easier as I kept on learning day by day. That is how I solved the problems.
What sort of future would you like?
I would like to achieve all my goals and have a positive future.
parallax background

„My name is Siar and I’m 19 years old. I come from Afghanistan and have been in Germany since 2014.

I went to school in my home country. I was in the 10th year at an upper secondary school. I like to play football and also enjoy fitness training and swimming. I am in Germany because I would like to live here, complete vocational training and then work.“

What is different in Germany?
In Germany, life is completely different from life in my home country. For example, there is education, lots of support, and work. Germany offers me a lot of prospects for my future.
What problems were there and how did you solve them?
As I haven’t been in Germany for very long, I had some problems with the language. I had to learn German but I managed it with practice and patience.
What sort of future would you like?
My hope for the future is to complete training successfully. Then I’ll have a good chance of getting a job.
parallax background

„My name is Henok and I am 28 years old. I come from Eritrea and arrived in Germany in 2014.

In my home country, I attended school until year 11 and have already worked as a welder for six years. I enjoy playing volleyball, basketball and a bit of football, and I also like to swim. I’m here in Germany because I want to receive good training and a good qualification so that I can find a good job. I am happy to be living in Germany.“

What is different in Germany?
For me, school and technology are different in Germany.
What problems were there and how did you solve them?
I find the German language difficult.
What sort of future would you like?
I want a happy life, a family and lots of children, and to stay in Germany.

2 What have we done so far and how did it benefit us?

"I wanted to start training. That was difficult. The Employment Agency offered me an introductory training scheme. I didn’t know about these schemes at the time. Now that I have done one, I know it was the right choice for me."

What is introductory training? It makes it easier to enter training afterwards. Let me explain it to you:

  • You spend at least six months at a company and learn about different occupations.
  • In my case, I was able to start at Siemens on 1 March 2016. This gave me the opportunity to help out as a mechatronic technician, industrial mechanic and electronics technician, and I learnt a lot of German.
  • After that, I knew what I was good at and what I wanted to do. On 1 September 2016, I started my training as an industrial mechanic.
  • Things can work out just as well for you. Introductory training schemes are available in all areas and are offered by many companies. Talk to the careers counselling service at your Employment Agency.
How you can attend introductory training

If you know which occupation you want to learn but have not been able to find a training place, then you can attend introductory training. This is on the condition that you have completed compulsory general schooling and have not yet completed vocational training.

How to get onto an introductory training scheme

First, you should speak to your careers counsellor. They will explain the requirements for assistance and help you look for companies offering introductory training schemes. However, you can also look for a company offering introductory training yourself.

Flyer „Dein Praktikum zur Ausbildung – Betriebliche Einstiegsqualifizierung (EQ) (Your work placement for vocational training – In-company introductory training (EQ))“ Federal Employment Agency, September 2015

Further information: A step-by-step guide to careers selection

The Employment Agency’s careers counselling service will advise you and help you find the right career. Student advice centres at universities will help you choose a course of study. Teachers, parents and others will help you make your decision.

What can I do myself? We recommend taking the following steps:

  1. Find out what interests you and what you are good at (What do I want? What can I do? What do I like and what do I not want at all? How do I see myself and how do others see me?). For example, complete a (skills assessment) test in relation to this, e.g. BERUFE-Universum. And work at a company on a trial basis. Talk to the careers counsellor at the Employment Agency about what really suits you.
  2. Find out: What training schemes are there? What dual courses of study are there? What courses of study are there? Where are work placements available?
  3. Decide: What do you want to do?
  4. Find training places at companies or schools. Find places in higher education. Apply.

You can also register here.

Further information is available directly from the careers counsellor at the Employment Agency or online at

  • Moeoud, wie bist du zur Einstiegsqualifizierung gekommen?

    Die Sprachschule, in der ich war, hat mir die Einstiegsqualifizierung vorgestellt.


    Was macht dir Spaß?

    Mir macht die Teamarbeit in der Mechanikwerkstatt viel Spaß.


    Wer und wie unterstützen dich Schule und Betrieb dabei?

    Ich werde unterstützt von meiner Deutschlehrerin.

  • Abdel, wie bist du zur Einstiegsqualifizierung gekommen?

    Es war für mich neu und interessant. Die Einstiegsqualifizierung wurde mir in einer Beratung empfohlen.


    Was macht dir Spaß?

    Einen neuen Beruf und neue Menschen kennenzulernen. Im Team mit anderen Menschen arbeiten.


    Wer und wie unterstützen dich Schule und Betrieb dabei?

    Die Lehrer und Ausbilder sind fast die ganze Zeit bei uns. Sie motivieren uns zu arbeiten. Wenn wir ihre Hilfe benötigen, helfen sie uns gerne.

  • Siar, wie bist du zur Einstiegsqualifizierung gekommen?

    Durch die Sprachschule bin ich auf mein jetziges Praktikum gestoßen.


    Was macht dir Spaß?

    In der Einstiegsqualifizierung macht mir der Unterricht viel Spaß.


    Wer und wie unterstützen dich Schule und Betrieb dabei?

    Die Sprachschule unterstützt mich Deutsch zu lernen.

  • Henok, wie bist du zur Einstiegsqualifizierung gekommen?

    Die Agentur für Arbeit hat mich über Siemens informiert.


    Was macht dir Spaß?

    Elektrotechnik und Mechatronik machen mir Spaß.


    Wer und wie unterstützen dich Schule und Betrieb dabei?

    Die Ausbilder und Lehrer helfen mir. Ich habe Sicherheitsschuhe, Berufskleidung und Bücher bekommen.

Further information

Expert tip:

“We work with the careers counsellors at the Employment Agencies to bring people and companies together. Training in Germany is worth it!”

Anne-Marie Lindner is a placement officer in the Employer Service team at Berlin Süd Employment Agency. The team advises companies in Berlin on integration and recruitment opportunities for refugees.

What can the careers counsellors do for you?
  • They will talk to you about your career aspirations and expectations, as well as about any problems and doubts you may have.
  • They will assist you with careers selection if you don’t yet have an idea of what you’d like to do as a career.
  • They will take the time to meet with you in person and answer your questions.
  • They will help you find a training place.
  • They are familiar with the companies and the number of training places. They can therefore give you tips on searching for training places and also place you in one.
  • They will also give you information on schools and the application procedure and point out other options if training doesn’t work out right away.

3 Why did we choose dual vocational training?

"We have talked a lot about training. But what exactly is it? I didn’t know either when I came to Germany."

You learn an occupation, and theory and practice are combined from the outset. That is why it’s called dual vocational training.

At the end, you do an exam on both the theory and the practice. If you pass both, you’ve made the grade and can work as a specialist. This makes it easier for you to find a well-paid job.

If you would like to know more, have a look at the further information in: “Dual vocational training”.

Why is dual vocational training worthwhile for me?
  • I want to be well-trained.
  • I want to earn money while I train. After completing training successfully, I want to earn good money.
  • I want to get involved in the practical side right away. I want to work at a company during training.
  • I want to put the knowledge and skills I learn at school into practice immediately.
  • I will obtain a good qualification in a short time. I can use this qualification to enter further training. Then I can continue my development at the company.
  • I can even start a degree later.
Why is dual vocational training so attractive in Germany?
  • 60% of all young people take up dual vocational training
  • Dual vocational training is financially attractive – you will receive a good salary. Over their working life, someone with vocational training earns significantly more than someone without.
  • It helps you start a career: companies need trained specialists, so you will have good job prospects.
  • It also allows you to become the owner of a craft undertaking.
  • Lots of possibilities are open to you: there are six large training fields containing approx. 330 dual vocational training schemes:
  1. Industry
  2. Commerce
  3. Crafts
  4. Office and administration
  5. Health
  6. Agriculture
How does dual vocational training work?
  • You look for a training place.
  • You sign a training contract. You receive a training allowance.
  • You learn at a company (practice) and at a school (theory).
  • You complete your vocational training by sitting an examination. You receive an officially recognised certificate that allows you to apply for jobs.

What else should I know about dual vocational training?
  • You will do most of your training at the company. However, you will also attend a part-time vocational school.
  • Dual vocational training lasts for at least 2 years and for a maximum of 3½ years.
  • Trainers at the company and teachers at the vocational school will support you during training. Talk to them if you have any questions or do not understand something.
  • Company:You take part in practical work at the company.
  • Vocational school:At the vocational school, you learn the theory alongside trainees from other companies. The vocational school does not necessarily have to be in the same city as the company. It does not cost you anything to attend the school
Where can I find a vocational training place?
  • I am thinking about which occupation I want to learn.
  • I am looking for training companies.
  • Who can help you?
  1. Careers counselling service of the Federal Employment Agency, as well as the Careers Information Centre (BiZ)
  2. Professional associations (e.g. chambers of commerce and industry, chambers of trades)
  3. Companies
  • Ask companies, the careers counselling service at an Employment Agency, or the training advisors at chambers of commerce and industry. Your friends can also give you tips.
  • Apply and prepare for the interview (Who can help you?). Ask your teachers at school and your careers counsellor.

Curious? Find out more on BERUFENET

What are you doing now?

I am training to be an electronics technician.

Why did you choose dual vocational training?

I chose it because it allows me to achieve my ambitions.

Who or what helped you with your decision?

I made the decision alone.

What are you doing now?

I want to do a work placement in an office. Engineering wasn’t for me.

Why did you choose dual vocational training?

Dual vocational training is the best way to enter a career.

Who or what helped you with your decision?

My father and my family helped me.

What are you doing now?

I have started training as an industrial mechanic.

Why did you choose dual vocational training?

Training opens up practical prospects for me in life. It will allow me to be successful in my future career.

Who or what helped you with your decision?

My friends helped me with the decision.

What are you doing now?

I’m training as an industrial mechanic.

Why did you choose dual vocational training?

Because I’m interested in engineering.

Who or what helped you with your decision?

My wife and my German friends.

4 Teamwork makes us stronger! And benefits my future career.

"Large systems are not designed and built by a single person. Project work is easier as a team."

Working together as a team is an important part of dual vocational training, and we do so according to the following principles:

  • There’s no I in team
  • The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
  • Strength in unity
  • Together Everyone Achieves More
  • We are family
  • Unterstützung beim Deutschlernen.

  • Übersetzung von Formularen.

  • Begleitung bei Behördengängen.

  • Hilfe bei der Wohnungssuche.

  • Motivation bei Rückschlägen.

  • Gemeinschaftsspiele.

  • Fußball.

5 Tips for you!

"Das ist ein Blindtext. Bitte um einen einführenden Satz wie in den vorangegangenen Kapiteln ergänzen."

6 And what about you?

You are still right at the beginning. The following options are available to you.
Have you chosen to do dual vocational training? Here are some tips on finding a training place.
How can I find a training place?
Do you have any questions about applying? You can get help here.
How do I apply correctly?
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Maybe these tips will help.
further information