Model project of bilingual training to become a management assistant in office communication

The accession of Poland to the EU opened up new opportunities for Berlin to intensify the economic and cultural ties to Poland. Young professionals with a good knowledge of the Polish language were in high demand, but were few and far between in Berlin. The project ProPolska showed an approach to change that. At the time of the project implementation, it was a unique training concept in Germany. Indeed, it was the first time that the business Polish was provided as the first foreign language, and that a section of the training took place at a Polish partner company.

Participants in ProPolska sign a three-year training contract with a Berlin company or public institution. The practical training takes place at the training company and the theoretical basics are taught by the OSZ (Secondary School and Vet College of Higher and Further Training). As part of the training, the students complete a five-month internship at a Polish company in Poznań – for instance at VW Poznań, at the MAN Accounting Centre or in the municipality. On returning from Poland, the trainees continue their education in Berlin. In their 5th semester they take an exam in Polish language at the OSZ. The students are able to choose between three different levels to be examined in.

The results of ProPolska speak for themselves:

  • The training model “office administrators” was implemented as a regular offer in the full-time school education at the OSZ.
  • The language training is certified. Trainees receive the “KMK- foreign language certificate-polish” of the KMK.
  • A proven concept of education for “Polish language for economics” now exists. This includes innovative teaching materials, guides, exams elaborated in the project, which is transferable to other vocational trainings.
  • Eleven of the twelve trainees from the first “ProPolska-year” successfully completed the final exam at the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the language test.

“Building bridges and opening up new perspectives is easier for the person who is at home in two cultures, or who can speak two languages (…) The just completed pilot project shows: in the international qualification of technical specialists, it is worth building on what is already there, for example, a second mother tongue, and to take this a step further.”

Dr. Jutta Illichmann, Federal Ministry for Education and Research – at the closing conference of the ProPolska project on 22 June 2005 in Berlin


Documentation of the project 2002 to 2005 - Comprehensive description of the educational programme ProPolska
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Implemented in:

Berlin and Poland


2001 – 2005

Berlin partners:

OSZ Bürowirtschaft und Verwaltung (vocational school for office management and administration), Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Senate Department for Youth, Education and Sport, German-Polish Society, Embassy of the Republic of Poland and apprenticeship companies

Transnational partners:

European University of Viadrina, ZDZ Warsaw, polish subsidiaries of Deutschen Telekom AG, Schering AG, HOCHTIEF Construktion AG and VW Poznań


Grazyna Wittgen
Tel +49(30)809941-14


BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research)