What is IQ Network?

The IQ Network (IQ = Integration through Qualification) is a national network of federal networks in Germany established with the aim of fostering integration of migrants by improving access to information and education, providing consultation on recognising prior education and new qualification programms, including vocational training and higher education.

What was „Credit Points“?

The project „Credit Points for migrant higher education graduates with technical degrees“ at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin was a model project in the IQ Network Berlin in the years 2013-2014. The project was dedicated to designing and delivering a flexible technology-enhanced qualification and mentoring programme suited to the needs of individual participants. The participants studied for two semesters based on their unique, individual qualification and mentoring plan and obtain an individual (digital) certificate issued by the Beuth University.

What was special about the program?

Credit Points was the first project in IQ Network Berlin addressing highly qualified migrants who already completed a higher education programme outside of Germany. The aim was to supplement prior qualifications acquired abroad with qualifications provided and recognised in higher education in Germany in order to enhance opportunities on the German labour market. As Beuth University is a university with a strong focus on engineering and technology-related fields. The programme especially addressed academics with bachelor, master, diploma or comparable degrees in technical fields, who wanted to work in their professional fields on the German labour market.

How was the program built?

  • In the first step candidates applied via an online survey, in which they provide the first information about their past and current educational and occupational activities.
  • In the second step, candidates were invited to Beuth University to individual consultations, which aimed at understanding the current situation of each participant, by inquiring about the past and current educational and occupational activities and experiences as well as future career plans.
  • In the third step, an individual qualification plan was designed for and together with each participant, based on the outcomes of consultations in stept two. The qualification plans were co-designed with participants allowing for the best match with individual motivations, competencies and aspirations.

Based on the individual qualification plan, each participant took modules selected to meet their individual needs. These module encompassed eLearning and face-to-face seminars aiming to extend or update professional skills, language skills (German and English), as well as media and research literacy. Additionally, participants were given an opportunity to gather practical experience in local companies in the Berlin/Brandenburg region.

What were the benefits?

The idea of “Credit Points” was to design individual qualification plans based on prior qualifications, career plans and current family/work situation together with each participant.

One of the greatest benefits was the individual qualification plan and an individual (digital) certificate which helped each person acquire qualifications that he/she needed most to succeed on the labour market in Germany.

Each individual study plan included a unique combination of modules.

The next important benefit was that each participant could decide about the workload that is most suitable to their current situation.

The modules will encompassed technology-enhanced, distance learning modules combined with face-to-face meetings, career-related mentoring, German and English language coaching and short in-company practice in one of the enterprises in the Berlin/Brandenburg region.

A great benefit was also the combination of distance learning/e-learning and face-to-face meetings. This allowed for a great flexibility of time and place. At the same time it allowed participants to meet face to face and share their experiences. In-company practice phases allowed for hand-on experience and direct contact to companies.

The participants documented their achievements in their individual, digital portfolios (ePortfolios), which were used as part of their job applications after completing the program. The ePortfolio enabled each student to present their special competencies aquired in the programme and present their unique expertise encompassing prior and current qualifications.

The benefit of the ePortfolio was that each participant could document their individual competencies, continuously write about their achievements in German and in this way practice German language and create an own digital record of individual skills, qualifications and achievements which were presented to potential employers.

Who was eligible?

Migrants who already completed a higher education programme outside of Germany, already have a bachelor, master, diploma or comparable degree in a technical field, such as engineering, architecture, urban design, live in Germany and have a sufficient commad of the German language to participate in a higher education programme.