Everything you need to know about a Bildungsgutschein?

What Is a Bildungsgutschein?

Bildungsgutschein is the German word for an educational or training voucher. Issued by the Agentur für Arbeit or JobCenter.  This voucher entitles you to learn new skills for free. Once you have obtained a Bildungsgutschein, the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit  will cover the costs of your chosen course

The purpose of a Bildungsgutschein is to equip jobseekers with valuable, in-demand skills that will help them find a job. It’s important to note that, while studying with a Bildungsgutschein, you will still be entitled to receive your unemployment benefits.

Who is eligible for a Bildungsgutschein?:

You are currently employed but facing the possibility of unemployment

You are currently unemployed and want to re-enter the job market

You require further training or retraining in the absence of a relevant vocational qualification.

The basic requirement for further training funding via a Bildungsgutschein is that it must be necessary to integrate you as an applicant into a job, to avert imminent unemployment or to catch up on a missing professional qualification.

Is there a Bildungsgutschein for working people?

If you’re currently employed, you’ll only be considered for a Bildungsgutschein if your job is not secure and you’re likely to face unemployment in the near future. If your job is secure and you just want to complete some further training, you will not be eligible for a Bildungsgutschein

How to apply for a Bildungsgutschein

Have you found the course you would like to do?

Kursnet is an online database of all courses that can be taken using a Bildungsgutschein—and there are approximately 400,000 courses to choose from.

Do your homework and make appointments in the different educational organizations that offer this course.

The educational provider must have the “Anerkennungs- und Zulassungsverordnung Arbeitsförderung (AZWV)”.

A lot of organizations have a dedicated person who can advice you and deal with obtaining bildungsgutschein from Jobcenter or Agentur für Arbeit.

Schedule an appointment with your local Agentur für Arbeit

First things first, you need to make an appointment with your local Agentur für Arbeit/ Jobcenter. Once you’ve made an appointment, you’ll be assigned an advisor. They will act as your designated contact person for all further appointments. I advice that you try your very best to get an in person appointment.

How to prepare for your appointment at the Agentur für Arbeit

Once you’ve got your appointment, you need to show your advisor at the job center how you could benefit from a training voucher—so it’s important to come prepared.

Explain the benefits of the course in detail and present a good case for why you should receive a training voucher.It is important to demonstrate the following:

  • Can unemployment be ended without further training?
  • Does further training increase the chance of professional integration?
  • Is it a profession that is in high demand?

Whichever course you’ve got your eye on, it helps if you can demonstrate some kind of continuity between your professional background and the course you intend to take. If there is no obvious link, you can focus on the benefits of the course itself, and how it will improve your career prospects. Highlight the kinds of opportunities you’ll be able to access once you’ve taken the course, and explain why you want to enter into this field. You might come prepared with job ads and statistics to show that there is plenty of demand for the skills you hope to learn using your Bildungsgutschein.

*The course you have chosen should have a vocational identification number (Berufskennzahl in German, or BKZ) and a measure number (Maßnahmennummer). You can get these numbers from the educational institution providing the course. 

What should you bring to your Jobcenter appointment?

Aside from a well-thought-out case for your desired course, there are a few things you should bring with you to your Jobcenter appointment. 

  • Up-to-date copy of your CV 
  • If possible offer from the educational institution a
  • Information on the training provider
  • Information on the desired course, including job ads and employment stats
  • Proof of registration and ID
  • The vocational identification number (Berufskennzahl) and measure number (Maßnahmennummer) for your chosen course

*The Agentur für Arbeit is not legally obliged to grant you a Bildungsgutschein; it’s decided on a case-by-case basis. However, it is their mission to get you back into the job market, so if you come well-prepared for your appointment, the odds are very much in your favor.

What next?

Once you’ve received your training voucher from the job center, you’ll need to take it (or send it off) to the educational institution running your chosen course. Once they have filled out the relevant information, you’ll need to bring the completed Bildungsgutschein back to your advisor at the Agentur für Arbeit. Then you’re ready to go!

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