International Mobility and Recognition of Professionals with a Social Educational Qualification Earned Abroad - the Example of a Job-and Needs-oriented Adaptation Course



  • Dr. Tanja Ehmann, , Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin  
  • Prof. Dr. Meike Günther, Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin   


In 2019 the KHSB established an adaption course for professionals with a social education qualification earned abroad (ApaLe) to meet the needs for being officially recognized upon application subject to the provisions of the Act on the Recognition of Social Service Professions (Sozialberufe-Anerkennungsgesetz, SozBAG). The recognition of the qualifications is a precondition to have access to the regulated labor market in the fields of social work/social education, child or therapeutic education and increases employment opportunities in Germany (Peukert, 2015). In order to gain the recognition, the differences between the skills and knowledge acquired abroad compared with the qualifications of the German reference profession must be compensated by an adaptation course or an aptitude test (§§ 9,10,11 BQFG). With the funding of the federal program “Integration through Qualification (IQ)” and since 2021 financed by the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family of Berlin, Social Professionals have the opportunity to acquire the qualification for the recognition via the adaption course ApaLe. The presentation introduces the course and its curriculum and shows how the individually different qualification needs are taken into account. Furthermore, the results from the monitoring process which give an insight in the learning experiences from the participants are highlighted. In the last part of the presentation and for the discussion, the adaptation course is placed in the context of international research on transnational social work mobility (Bartley/Beddoe, 2018). Only a few programs of this kind exist worldwide and are usually not firmly established at universities. Without such programs, the permeability in adult education for obtaining the equivalence of qualifications obtained abroad is lacking and mobility is thus severely restricted.

Dr. Tanja Ehmann

Academic staff and lecturer, Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin   
Master and PhD in Educational Sciences, political-educational advisor and research assistant at the Archive of Youth Culture e.V., research assistant at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (DP Social and Educational Sciences), academic staff at Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin

Prof. Dr. Meike Günther

Professor of Social Work, Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin
Social Worker, academic staff at the German Institut for Human Rights

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