Applying for an education voucher can seem daunting. You probably automatically think of tedious bureaucracy, time-consuming administrative procedures and opaque training offers. But there is another way. In the following article, we’ve summarized how you can easily obtain an education voucher, how you can find the right professional course for you and how it can help you to start your new dream job.
What is an education voucher and why do you need it?
The education voucher is an official document that guarantees the complete coverage of your training costs. This means that if you receive an education voucher, you can continue your education free of charge. However, there is no guarantee or legal claim for an education voucher, also called an AZAV voucher. It’s issued by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) or the Job Center (JC), which will check your need for training in advance and decide for themselves in a personal counseling session whether to confirm or reject your claim.
But don’t worry: being well prepared for the interview can help you with your application and significantly increase your chances of receiving free professional training. It’s also possible that in some cases the costs for travel expenses, accommodation and meals as well as childcare costs will also be covered.
Under certain conditions, both job seekers and people in employment can obtain an education voucher and receive subsidized continuing education, but not everyone meets the necessary requirements. So first of all, let’s clarify whether you are eligible to apply.
What are the requirements for the education voucher?
In order to receive an education voucher, you must meet certain requirements. If you meet one or more of the five criteria below, you can apply for an education voucher.
The criteria for applying for an education voucher are:
- You are currently looking for work.
- You are employed but threatened by unemployment.
- Further training would help to secure your existing employment.
- Further training would facilitate your professional integration, e.g. after a longer period of being unable to work or parental leave.
- You lack a vocational qualification that you need to obtain.
In addition, your permanent residence must be within Germany and your chances of receiving funding will be better if it is foreseeable that your current job situation or your unemployment will not improve on its own without further training.
How do you get an education voucher?
If you meet any of the above criteria, you can talk to your case worker. Starting in May 2022, you have the option of applying for an education voucher online. However, there is no way around a personal consultation, during which your application will be activated. Where you can attend your personal interview depends on your unemployment status. You either have to go to the Federal Employment Agency if you receive unemployment benefit 1 or to the Job Center if you receive Hartz 4.
Education voucher despite having a job? Yes, this also possible! This is ensured by the Qualification Opportunities Act, which also prepares employees for the new requirements of job market, which are constantly changing. If you are in an existing employment relationship but are threatened by unemployment, you can also register with the Federal Employment Agency. Soldiers can get advice from the Bundeswehr’s vocational advancement service and receive further training allowances.
You have the best chances if the training is in the professional environment of the profession you trained in. For this reason, continuing education in the area of digitalization and data is particularly suitable, since virtually all professions are affected by the digital transformation and the demands on professionals are changing significantly as a result. It can be worthwhile to consult with your own supervisor and find out what joint advantages the professional training has for your career and your employer and whether the course qualifies you for a job role that needs to be filled in the company in the near future.
Training courses that can be taken part-time, online, and with flexible schedules are advantageous. In the case of part-time, full-time or classroom courses, you should talk to your supervisor about feasibility. Gather these reasons to present to your caseworker during the interview. Good preparation will significantly improve your chances of obtaining an education voucher and getting the costs covered.
Interactive checklist for applying for your education voucher
Not sure if you’re properly prepared for your education voucher appointment at the job center or the employment agency? No problem, we’ve created a two-page interactive checklist for you to help you prepare for your application. In it, we clarify the most important questions and give you an ideal interview guide to convince your case worker and get your education voucher approved.
Your checklist is just one click away.
“If possible, you should also bring the results of your placement test with you. This certifies to the employment agency or job center that we, as a training course provide, certify that you are basically suitable for the course and are likely to complete it successfully.”
Which funded training program is right for you?
Training can be the path to professional fulfillment and a new, exciting career. But regular professional development is also indispensable for people who want to remain successful in their jobs. But not every thematically relevant course is actually suitable for you and your career.
So, before choosing a funded training program, you should always ask yourself first:
- Do you need specialized knowledge that you lack for your job?
- Will the course improve your chances on the job market or in your existing job in the long term?
- Are there many vacancies in the profession for which you want to qualify?
- Does the course really offer you the sound, specialized knowledge that you need?
- Is your chosen course provider accredited by the state and does it offer funded training?
Maria’s advice: “The job center will ask you why you think you can learn the course material, why you of all people need this course, and whether you have a genuine interest in the profession. You will most likely be asked these questions during the interview. So, it helps if you can come up with good answers beforehand.”
Depending on whether you are a job seeker or have a job, you have a different time allotment and opportunities for training. Are there certain requirements that are important to you and that the course provider should fulfill? The following points should help you to find out the criteria that might be important for your individual choice. Check:
- The duration of the course. How much time can you invest in your course per week?
- Whether you will incur (additional) costs, e.g. for technical equipment or materials (e.g. a laptop or PC) that you will need.
- The place where the training takes place. Can you do the course online or are you tied to a specific location?
- What time flexibility a course offers you and whether there are fixed times.
- Whether the course provider offers different course models. Subsidized training courses for job seekers are usually designed for full-time participation. If you are employed and want to do a training course, it’s important for you to know whether part-time and in-service models are also available and how much time your employer can make available to you.
- What support you will need with the course content and whether mentoring, professional support or even a learning community are included in the course offering. This is especially important for training courses that are very technical or require a lot of specialized knowledge. Personal contact with mentors, the support team or a community ensures that you never lose touch and can get support if necessary.
- Whether you receive an official certificate of completion and whether the course provider offers a career service or even a job placement for specific professions.
At the end, Maria has a good tip for your counseling interview: “It can be very helpful to bring specific job advertisements to the appointment. Based on the requirements in the ads, you can argue very well which skills you are currently lacking and what you would like to focus on in your training. You can also use it to show that there are advertised positions which you can actually apply for with an additional qualification.”
To find state-accredited course providers, you can either search the employment agency’s course network or Google “subsidized training” and the profession of your choice, e.g. “data analyst”.
Education voucher ASAP?
Your success combo: an education voucher and StackFuel’s subsidized training courses.
Don’t be deterred and get the most out of your education voucher. We’ve given you a lot of tips in this article, but also a lot of questions that may not be so easy for you to answer. Make it easy for yourself and get the support you need to answer your questions. A consultation with the education provider of your choice can clarify many unanswered questions and clear up uncertainties so that you can make an informed decision. Then nothing will stand in the way of your new career.
Above all, further education in the field of digital skills and data brings you many new job opportunities or can advance your career. That’s why advanced courses in data science, which allow you to become a data analyst or data scientist, are becoming increasingly popular. Since advanced data skills are in demand in almost every profession and industry, and there are not enough trained professionals in this field, this increases the chances of it being easier to change careers with a very well-paid job after a training course.
Changing careers is not always easy, but with StackFuel’s funded training courses, you’ll be well prepared for the professional transition and will be supported by experienced data science mentors and career advisors during your career change. We’ll be happy to advise you personally and work with you to find the best training program for you.