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Continuing education and promotion at work
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Continuing education and promotion at work

Kinga Bartczak

Master BAföG – Education voucher – Subsidized loans/scholarships

In the first part of my continuing education series, you have already received some information about funding opportunities for employees. In the second part, I would like to focus on further training measures in the skilled trades and add those groups of people who are not “eligible” according to regular standards, such as job-seekers/unemployed workers and students.

1. master craftsman BAföG

The so-called Meister BAföG came into force on 01.07.2009 as a new  funding measure under the Upgrading Training Assistance Act (AFBG) and can be applied for in all occupational areas of the skilled trades sector, regardless of the form in which the upgrading training is carried out (full-time/part-time/school-based/extracurricular/media-based/distance learning, etc.).

The Meister BAföG is granted by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and is a loan that is interest- and repayment-free for a maximum of six years. The contribution for the course and examination fee can be up to 10,226 euros. Of this, 30% is considered a grant, the rest would have to be applied for as a loan from KfW, as already mentioned. The repayment rate is approximately 128 euros per month and must be repaid within 10 years, after the grace period. In particular, funding is provided for further training to become a master craftsman or industrial foreman, technician, specialist in business administration, specialist nurse, business IT specialist, programmer and business administrator.

Further information can be obtained from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. There you can get free (online) brochures. In addition, you can submit your application for funding to the municipal office for educational funding in your city and take advantage of a personal consultation.

2. education voucher of the Federal Employment Agency

Continuing educationThe education voucher is primarily aimed at customers of the Federal Employment Agency. The aim here is to compensate for a skills deficit by promoting targeted further training measures, thus facilitating the reintegration of  into the labor market. In order to check the necessity of a further training measure, a personal interview with the responsible employment mediator at the Federal Employment Agency is indispensable. The customer’s qualifications, training and suitability are examined and a decision is then made as to whether the requirements for funding are met. The education voucher can be regional, limited in time and restricted to a specific educational goal. After receiving the education voucher, the customer can independently search for a suitable course via the information portals BERUFENET and KURSNET. Here, too, consultation with the employment agency is recommended, since KURSNET, for example, lists all course options, but not all are eligible for funding. For example, the costs of training courses, travel costs, costs of accommodation away from home, catering costs and expenses for childcare are covered. Should a third party (e.g. the employer) make an assumption of costs, the Federal Employment Agency will only assume the costs that remain after deducting the payment made by the third party. Please take into account that there is no right to a lump-sum refund (!). Accordingly, it is always advisable to discuss the possible costs involved with your employment agent in advance in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Little Tip:

If you are interested in further topics such as career change, promotion, re-entry or further training, the Federal Employment Agency offers you the so-called BerufsEntwicklungsNavigator (BEN for short) for further information.

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3. student loans and scholarships

There are a wide variety of funding opportunities for prospective and established students/students. At the beginning of their studies, students usually take advantage of the funding provided by the Federal Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, BaföG for short). The prerequisite for the entitlement to educational support is German citizenship or a status under residence law listed in § 8, the general suitability for the chosen education (matriculation certificate; from the 5th semester onwards, a certificate of the achievements to be made up to then must be submitted) and not exceeding the age limit (35 years).

Please note (!):

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BaföG cannot only be awarded to students at a university and is granted accordingly as a full grant, subsidy, state loan or bank loan. You can read about who receives which grant here. In addition, there are some calculators on the Internet, which can calculate an approximate BaföG rate for you after entering your data(of course without guarantee!).). Since the studies can extend beyond the required semester duration due to a part-time job, an honorary position or also due to illness, there is the possibility for students, for whom in this case the further entitlement to BaföG is forfeited, to apply for an education loan, for example at the NRW-Bank. The funding ranges from €1,000 to €7,200, and you can decide individually whether you want to have this paid out in up to 24 monthly installments of €100, €200 or €300. The repayment rate is about 120€ per month.

In emergencies (financial bottlenecks, difficulties with applications, etc.), students can always contact their local Studentenwerk. This also offers loans to support students for a short period of time.

For internships/study semesters abroad, it is always advisable to take a look at the homepage of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst e. V.). You can also find a comprehensive database of current scholarship programs for students here.

No matter which continuing education program you choose, promote and get promoted!

A joint discussion with your employee/employer can clarify the needs and desires on both sides. For example, you can develop a joint promotion plan and thus strengthen the corporate culture as well as employee motivation.

About the author

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Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .

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