Germany needs more cleaning workers

13th of March 2012
Germany needs more cleaning workers

Thomas Schulte-Marxloh in Germany explains how the cleaning sector is running short of human resources.

Some German industries, like the contract cleaning business, are running short of human resources Not only the skilled labourer but also the apprentice is most wanted, in particular in some regions of east Germany. Before the European laws and regulations regarding free labour movement came into effect, some businesses feared an invasion of eastern European labourers. So far in the contract cleaning industry the fears have not become reality.

Meanwhile some (east) German companies even strongly promoted - for instance in Poland - the opportunities of an apprenticeship in Germany, however, the response was weak. But apart from the sad situation regarding apprenticeships, the great number of vacant positions for skilled workers also reflects the labour situation in Germany.

Of course there are voices blaming trade, commerce and industry, pointing to their neglect of apprenticeships and further education in recent years. Trade, commerce and industry, meanwhile, object to the standard of school education, a lack of training, ambition and enthusiasm of applicants and poorly motivated apprentices or workers.

One way of facing the challenges of the present labour market is an initiative in Hamburg which is supported by a number of federal and local authorities, organisations, associations and societies. The aim is to qualify adult migrants who presently lack training qualifications and it offers various qualification measures organised by the Chamber of Crafts in Hamburg for migrants who are seeking work or who are unemployed. But also those who are presently employed in the crafts (like the contract cleaning business) as well as company owners can benefit.

However, basis of all these measures is some professional experience. Even before the actual training starts, a professional adviser helps the applicant to find eligible training programmes or financial support. The so-called post-qualification programme benefits from all presently existing courses organised by the Chamber of Crafts - some additional ones have been developed which particularly consider the needs of participating companies and the potential of participants.

This principal programme is complemented by preliminary and accompanying courses as well as language courses. Many migrants can benefit from this introduction to the labour market or from their first steps towards a training qualification; further education can provide all knowledge which is needed to finally gain the respective qualifications. The crafts can benefit from new qualified workers who formerly were unemployed or worked in unqualified positions.

The post-education programme aims to develop the experience migrants have already gained. The programme includes proposals regarding the evaluation of foreign qualifications and competences. It serves to develop and test models of post-qualification or education adjustment.

Furthermore it develops and launches accompanying measures and further education regarding professional qualification and language skills which will enable migrants to gain German school-leaving certificates. These measures can complement the professional qualification or serve as full time activities. The project also aims at improved competitiveness and increased attractiveness of the crafts.


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