EQUAL – Development Partnership ProInteCra

Professional Integration of Immigrants in Skilled Crafts

Initial situation

The unemployment rate among immigrants is significantly higher. This is a problem all over Germany. Skilled trade is a sector which offers good employment and career opportunities and faces an increasing shortage of skilled workers.

The joint initiative EQUAL provided an opportunity to promote the integration of immigrants into skilled craft. The BGZ took over the national and transnational coordination, and partners in the project were chambers of small business and skilled crafts and skilled trade educational institutions, which together represent about 10% of all trade enterprises in Germany.

Project objectives and activities

The task of the project was to identify ways to integrate immigrants into skilled crafts and to dismantle barriers that constrict this goal. The project was implemented in six sub-projects. All are tailored-made to the specific target group or problem.

Sub-project 1: Into skilled craft with a migration background

The aim of this sub-project was to inspire young, foreign people to start vocational training in a skilled trade. Young immigrants, with the capacity to train, were informed about the opportunities that skilled craft offers, for self employment and establishing an independent livelihood. In addition, the project developed measures to reduce the high drop-out rate.

Management: ZWH – Central Office for Further Training in the Skilled Trades, Düsseldorf

Sub-project 2: Promoting technical language skills

A telelearning course improved immigrants’ skills in German technical language. Lacking language competences are often the reason why immigrants fail exams and work below their capabilities. The German course was developed as a web based training (WBT), accompanied by a technical language tutor, and provided for apprentices, masters, enterprises etc.

Management: Chamber of Small Business and Skilled Crafts, Aachen

Sub-project 3: Business training for business start-ups

The task of the project was to acquaint immigrants with the master craftsman’s certificate examination and to prepare them for the setting up a business in skilled trades. Focus was the construction of networks between autonomous migrant organisations (MSO), further training organisations of the chamber of small business and skilled crafts and guilds. The sub-project was expanded with Networking Berlin.

Management: BTZ – Training and Technology centre of the Chamber of Small Business and Skilled Crafts, Berlin

Sub-project 4: Promoting women – female immigrants as experts in skilled crafts

The project was dedicated to the entry-level training and further qualification of women with an immigration background in skilled crafts. It was mainly aimed at assisting wives in craft enterprises. The project compiled the specific need for qualifications for immigrants, through the inclusion of the target group, as well as the direct addressing of skilled craft enterprises. Establishing contacts between German and foreign businesswomen in skilled crafts was also facilitated.

Management: Chamber of Small Business and Skilled Crafts, Lüneburg-Stade

Sub-project 5: “Chance 40+” – tailored continuing vocational education for older immigrants

The sub-project developed a tailor-made unitized qualification model for the additional- and post-qualification to enhance the integration of older, disadvantaged immigrants into the labour market. A cooperation of educational institutions with SME and the identification of the current needs of the economy ensured a high practical relevance of the qualification modules.

Management: Chamber of Small Business and Skilled Crafts, Rhein-Main, BTZ – Training and Technology centre, Weiterstadt

Sub-project 6: Integration instead of exclusion – training multipliers against racism and xenophobia

Teachers and training personnel of educational institutions learned to adapt to integration tasks as well as to recognise the intercultural significance of learning/education situations to counteract possible xenophobic attitudes in training centres. The sub-project therefore developed a modular series of seminars for trainings of multipliers. In addition, a base of consultation was set up in Weimar, serving as a drop-in centre nationwide for continuing vocational education in the area „integration in skilled crafts“.

Management: Training and Continuing Education Centre of the Building and Construction Industry, Erfurt/Weimar

Results and utilisation

The project has reached about 750 people. Apart from the qualification of immigrants, it has contributed to the intercultural opening of the skilled crafts and the craft SME. Courses were adopted in the regular training offers, approaches for discussions and materials further developed. They have been implemented, for example, in the campaign “Berlins Wirtschaft braucht dich!” (Berlin’s Economy needs you!), which was carried out by the senate department for Labour, Integration and Women’s issues; IHK (Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry )and the chamber of small business and skilled crafts. The aim was to bring young immigrants into dual apprenticeships.

 “First of all, ProInteCra means an improvement in the integration of immigrants into our society. Secondly, an important contribution is being made to improve job opportunities in small trade.”

Marieluise Beck, former Federal Government
Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration


Documentation of the conference ´"Professional Integration of Migrants in Skilled Craft“ on 15.02.2005 in Berlin
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Implemented in:

Germany, Austria, Italy


2002 – 2005

Partners in Germany:

Chamber of Small Business and Skilled Crafts Berlin, Aachen, Lüneburg-Stade and Rhein-Main, The Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH) Düsseldorf, BTZ Weiterstadt, ABW Weimar, BIT Media


Dr. Hilde Hansen
Tel. +49 (30) 809941-16


EU-Community initiative EQUAL, BMWA (Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour)


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.