* What is continuing education?
Continuing education is considered to be learning that deepens or “expands on” existing education in a given career; this can occur in a completely new career path. Earlier phases of education and interim phases of work proceeded. Professional continuing education can either occur during a period of work or full-time.
* How do I find the best continuing education for my needs?
To orientate yourself in the jungle of professional possibilities, an estimate of your own desires and potentials is necessary, as is an extensive research into the offers in the field of continuing education. Gaining clarity about your own desires is best done by speaking with people close to you or in professional consultation. To make your own potential clear, tests can be of assistance – for example, the free online analysis of potential offered by Unicum (rated as “good” by the Stiftung Warentest): http://www.unicum.de/beruf/jobtest/test_info.php.
For research on professional continuing education, numerous very informative websites are available:
Checklist of continuing education programmes at the Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung: www.bibb.de
Education and continuing education programmes at the Bundesagentur für Arbeit: www.kursnet.arbeitsagentur.de
Info web continuing education: www.iwwb.de
* When do I have a right to continuing education?
Participation in measures for continuing education must be necessary in order to professionally integrate employees in the case of unemployment, to avoid impending unemployment or because the necessity of continuing education is recognized due to the lack of a professional degree.
According to §60 SGB, the education to become a dancer, as in the case for the other performing arts (actors, musicians, singers), is not an officially recognized educational career; thus the eligibility for support for an additional career can be seen as given.
As a rule, the candidate must have either completed a professional education programme or have worked in a career for three years. Before participating in continuing education, a counseling session must have taken place beforehand at the unemployment agency, the Agentur für Arbeit.
If the prerequisites for continuing education are fulfilled, employees receive a voucher from their unemployment agency (Agentur für Arbeit). Generally, the Agentur für Arbeit finances two-year programmes in continuing education. If a programme lasts longer, the Agentur für Arbeit demands a shorter educational period, financing from the provider or private financing for the third year by the student in an escrow account. Unfortunately, this regulation is a considerable barrier.
* What is an education voucher?
Since the First Law for modern service industries in the work market took effect on January 1st 2003, the Agentur für Arbeit has been allowed to hand out education vouchers when the prerequisites for support were given for individually determined educational needs (e.g., continuing education).
(This is an “optional” service of the Agentur für Arbeit that is granted by the administrators as they see fit; the Agentur für Arbeit is not required to grant education vouchers.)
The education voucher is a guarantee that the costs incurred by participating in continuing education will be covered. The participant can use the education voucher within the period of validity (usually three months) to take part in a certified programme with an objective appropriate to the respective education voucher. As a proof of certification for a continuing education programme, the provider can present credentials from a competent authority.
* Education voucher. Which educational programmes are certified?
Generally, state-authorized occupational education programmes are supported. These are all careers for which education regulations have been passed that guarantee orderly and unified career education programmes nation-wide. The legal foundations for a career education were laid in the Berufsbildungsgesetz (BbiG) und die Handwerksordnung (HwO). You can learn certified professions in career training institutions or vocational schools. Educational programmes that are supported by an education voucher are, for example, for geriatric nurses, asset consultants, business economists, accountants, secretaries (with software qualifications), ergotherapists, experts for financial services, certified management accountants IHK, certified real estate agents IHK, certified human resources representatives, certified secretaries, business administrators IHK, housekeepers, remedial teachers, business administrators for industry, marketing representatives, masseurs, media management administrators, online editors, interior designers/ architects, tax accountants, webmasters, web designers, PR advisors, graphics and design artists for advertising.
A list of the certified career educations, effective 08.01.2010: http://www2.bibb.de/tools/aab/aabberufeliste.php
* What do you do when the Agentur für Arbeit doesn’t pay for continuing education for a career that I am interested in?
Then contact us for advice. We can give you support in dealing with the Agentur für Arbeit and can give you tips on finding other financing such as educational loans from the KfW or the compensation from the VddB (Bayerische Versorgungskammer – Versorgungsanstalt der Deutschen Bühnen) at the end of your active career as a dancer before reaching 40 and after having paid premiums for at least 60 months (only recommended by us in emergency situations, because after accepting the compensation you are no longer entitled to the retirement pension that supplements legally required retirement insurance).
Education premium for continuing education parallel to employment?
Working people can receive an education premium at the level of 500 EUR maximum if their taxable annual income does not exceed 25,600 EUR. They must provide at least the same amount for continuing education programmes. The premium voucher can be used for training sessions, tests or certificates and all measures that serve continuing education. According to the Vermögensbildungsgesetz (VermBG), “saving for continuing education” allows you to access a part of your saved assets to finance continuing education even if the retention period has not yet been completed. Using savings for continuing education assumes that you have a positive balance in an employee savings programme, and it is independent of your present income. Saving for continuing education can be used independently of the premium voucher. In this way, your contribution to the premium voucher can be taken from the savings account.