Without a recognised vocational qualification you may only work as an unskilled labourer. With a vocational training you can usually earn more money. You have to train and learn in a company and/or a vocational school for two or three years.
In Germany, there is more than one way to learn a profession. The employment agency’s vocational information centre (BiZ) can show you your possibilities and can help you find a Profession.
The dual vocational training is a special kind of training in Germany which is also popular abroad. Germany has about 400 different professions which require vocational training – most of them are taught in the dual system. It combines practical work in the training companies with theoretical learning and information in the vocational schools.
Vocational training usually lasts two to three years. Before starting your training, you (the trainee) will have to sign a contract with your training company. This contract sets out the contents and goals of your training as well as the amount you will get paid.
There are also school-based vocational trainings. During a school-based vocational training you will spend most of the time at a vocational school. In-between you will have internships at companies or businesses. Many school-based vocational trainings are for health, nursing or social professions, but they also exist in other fields.
School-based vocational trainings take between one and three years. At the end of both the dual and the school-based vocational trainings you will have to pass an examination. Afterwards, you will receive a vocational certificate and can start to look for jobs.
There are different ways to pay for your livelihood while you do your vocational training. During a dual vocational training you will usually be paid by your training company. You will receive less money than after your training.
During a school-based vocational training it depends on the profession, if you receive money. During trainings for health or nursing professions you will be paid every month. Other school-based vocational trainings might not be paid. But you can apply for state-funded financial support, especially while you learn at a secondary technical school, a specialised vocational school, or during a vocational preparation course (BVJ). Then you might receive vocational training assistance (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe) or state training support (BAföG).
EU nationals do not need a residence permit to start a vocational training in Thuringia. The same goes for citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
If you are a citizen of a third country you can apply for a residence permit to start a vocational training in Germany. You also need the consent of the Federal Employment Agency.
After finishing your vocational training you have twelve months to find a job in Germany according to your training. While looking for a job you may take on a different vocation to earn your living. You can apply for such a residence permit for twelve months at your local immigration agency. Once you find a job according to your vocational training, you can apply for a different residence permit.
You should apply to jobs with a written application. You can send your application via postal service or via email. You application should include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae (including date and signature), copies of relevant certificates, qualifications, proof of internships and work samples if needed.
If you need help with your application, you can contact the Welcome Center Thuringia (WCT). The WCT staff members check your application documents for free and can give you feedback and support you with the formalities.