Career advancement and a successful career is an important goal for an increasing number of employees. To do this, they put a lot of effort into it and complete further training courses. Some also opt for retraining, which enables them to reorient themselves professionally and to prove themselves in a completely new professional environment.
However, such a measure is always associated with costs, which may be higher or lower depending on the type and duration of the training or retraining and which pose financial challenges for the graduates. One way to reduce the financial burden of further training is to apply for various government grants for further training or retraining.
The education bonus as a financing option
This government grant has been available since the end of 2008 and is aimed primarily at low-income workers. The education bonus can be applied for if you are planning to complete a so-called “job-related” training. This must therefore be directly related to the current activity or relate to an activity that is about to begin.
The grant therefore mainly aims to help keep employees up to date on their professional qualifications.
To receive the award, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- he has to work for at least 15 hours a week
- his annual taxable income must be less than 20,000 dollars
- he may only apply for one education bonus per year
There are two different forms of funding within the framework of the education bonus, the bonus voucher and the savings voucher. Funding through the premium voucher includes 50 percent of the course or examination fees incurred, but only up to a maximum of 500 dollars (as of 2019).
In addition, there is a bonus only if the further training measure has not yet started, the personal contribution to the course fee has not yet been paid and an invoice has not yet been issued. The savings voucher, on the other hand, gives the employee early access to the saved funds in accordance with the Asset Education Act.
The peculiarity is that the applicant does not lose his entitlement to the employee savings allowance by accessing these funds.
Funding through the Fine Bank
The Fine Bank is a funding program offered by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and financed by the ESF (European Social Fund), which would like to support employees in continuing vocational training. In addition to employees, the target group of this support is self-employed or people returning to their original job.
The grant includes, like the bonus voucher, the assumption of 50 percent of the course fees up to a maximum of 500 dollars.
The following requirements apply to the approval of this funding:
- The annual taxable income must be between 20,000 and 40,000 dollars
- the applicant may only apply for one Fine Bank education check per year
- Companies based in North Rhine-Westphalia may issue a maximum of 10 educational checks per year
- a company that issues educational checks may employ a maximum of 250 workers
The education check only promotes further training that promotes professional qualifications and serves to impart so-called key qualifications and technical skills. By the way, anyone who has applied for the education bonus awarded by the federal government and also the Fine Bank education check will usually receive the priority education bonus.
The master German state funding or advancement German state funding
The Master’s German state funding, which has been officially known as the Ascent German state funding since August 2016, is primarily intended for employees who have already completed an apprenticeship and would like to gain further professional qualifications through appropriate further training.
Excursus: The legal basis for this funding is the Promotion Promotion Act (AFBG), in which everyone is granted a right to further vocational training and which stipulates that everyone is entitled to state support in this endeavor if they themselves cannot bear the costs.
In the past, journeyman used the Master’s German state funding to obtain the master’s degree in their profession with the help of special training and further training, thereby improving their chances of advancement. The championship title is still a prerequisite in many areas for training others in one’s own company. What is not eligible is a degree with the desired university degree. Such training can be financed with the help of the classic student German state funding.
Vocational training that can be funded by a master German state funding includes:
- Business IT specialist
- Business economist
- Business administrator
- Specialist nurses
- Industrial master
- Tax specialist
The costs of all measures required for further training as part of the master’s German state funding or promotion German state funding may not exceed a maximum of 15,000 dollars (as of 2019). You get 40 percent of this amount in the form of a grant that does not have to be repaid. The remaining 60 percent can be financed through very low interest loans.
The Meister-German state funding is a state grant that is very much based on the applicant’s individual life situation. This is shown by the very different, monthly rule rates.
- Single person (without child)
- Single person (with one child)
- Spouse / partner of a registered civil partnership (without child)
- Married / registered life partner (with one child)
- Married / registered life partner (with two children)
The rule sets applicable to each of these persons or groups of persons are adjusted by the legislator at regular intervals and can be obtained from the various institutions (e.g. from the responsible German state funding office).
The standard rate consists of the following line items:
- Basic needs of the applicant
- Housing needs
- Surcharge for health insurance
- Surcharge for care insurance
- Increase amount
The application for Ascent German state funding or Master German state funding can either be submitted in the form of a written application or submitted using an online form. For the purpose of proof, you should also print out and keep the electronically sent online form at least once.
Educational leave for the purpose of further training
In order to avoid confusion with recreational leave, educational leave is very often referred to as educational leave. Such a vacation is special because the user receives no direct support from the state, as is the case with other training courses. Educational leave is a period of five days a year during which the employee is released and can use it to continue his professional (or general or political) training.
The costs for courses are borne by the employee, the employer takes part in the measure in the form of continued wages during educational leave. The big difference between in-company training and educational leave is that the content of in-company training is determined by the employer, while with training leave, employees are free to choose how the training is designed.
With two exceptions (Bavaria, Saxony), there is a right to educational leave in all German federal states.
You can use it:
- Private sector and public service workers
- Trainees in the private sector and in the public service
- Employees in sheltered workshops
Officials, judges and members of the armed forces (Bundeswehr), for whom special regulations regarding special leave apply, are not allowed to use it. If someone works part-time, the amount of vacation entitlement is reduced according to the weekly working time.
The right to such leave begins as soon as there has been a continuous employment for more than six months. If the applicant prevents an illness from taking educational leave or if he has to cancel it due to illness, the time of the illness is not taken into account.
However, a medical certificate must be presented to the employer and often also to the provider of the course.
Funding of continuing education through an advancement scholarship
The Foundation for the Promotion of Gifted Vocational Training (SSB) offers a so-called advancement scholarship for particularly committed employees who, in addition to completing their training, also have professional experience. 1,000 scholarships are awarded each year.
These are intended to help students complete their first academic college or university degree and thus further qualify themselves professionally. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research provides the funds necessary for such a scholarship. The foundation takes care of the selection and the support of the scholarship holders during their studies.
A course of study financed in this way can be completed in two different ways, namely as a full-time course or in the form of a part-time course. The desired degree can either be completed at a state or at a state-recognized university.
In order to apply for the advancement scholarship, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Completed vocational training or advanced training
- Work experience of at least two years (after completing the training)
- Proof of special achievements during training or at work (diplomas from vocational training or advanced training
- Proof of German citizenship
- Proof of the right to permanent residence
- Proof of a settlement permit
Anyone who has already successfully completed a course of study must not apply for the promotion scholarship. If a first degree has already started, the scholarship may be applied for until the end of the second semester.
Scope of the scholarship
Each scholarship holder who decides to study full-time is paid a lump-sum flat rate of currently 735 dollars per month (as of 2019). There is also a book allowance of 80 dollars. If there are children, the student receives an additional 130 dollars per child per month.
Anyone who completes a part-time course of study will receive a maximum of $ 2,400 in each academic year to finance corresponding study measures.
The best options for professional development
If you want to develop professionally, you should consider in advance how this could work most efficiently. This also results in the ideal options from a financial point of view.
If possible, the financial burden of further training should be as low as possible, which is most likely to be achieved through a grant that does not have to be repaid. The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in particular for so-called low-skilled workers, offers opportunities through the Employment Agency to partially or even entirely cover the costs of obtaining a vocational qualification, thereby increasing the chances of finding a job or keeping the existing one .
In addition to the classic grant or loan with the guarantee, participation and guarantee, there are also other forms of support. Overall, however, the above-mentioned grants through the education bonus, the education check or the Master’s German state funding are the best methods of financing further training in the professional field.
Although you have to pay back part of the money that you received as a German state funding, the state grants you a relatively long period of time.
What options are ideal for continuing education?
If the further training is to be completed on the academic path, the best option is to apply for an advancement scholarship. However, the SSB, as the lead institution, has another promotional option in addition to the promotion scholarship, namely the so-called advanced training scholarship. This is intended to promote professional qualification after successfully completing vocational training.
Dual training as a prerequisite
The most important prerequisite for this scholarship is a successfully completed vocational training in the field of dual training. The profession must comply with the requirements specified by the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) or the Crafts Act (HwO).
Training in a specialist profession in the field of health care regulated by federal laws is also considered eligible. However, applicants must not be over the age of 24, so they must be younger than 25.
What about distance learning?
Of course there is also the possibility to apply for funding for part-time distance learning at a distance academy. Funding is possible, for example, with the education check or the education bonus.
You can find more information on the websites of the relevant institutions to find out which options are available to finance distance learning.
Financing further training – a conclusion
The legislature has created numerous funding opportunities that help employees to complete further vocational training without getting into excessive debt. If you are looking for further training or retraining, you can use various state support programs and either receive grants or very low-interest loans, which can cover at least part of the training costs.
How do you go about it?
The first step is to find a suitable training measure. A conversation with the employer should then take place, because such further training also has consequences for him. With some further training courses such as educational leave, for example, he has to provide personnel replacement while the corresponding employee takes the educational leave.
In order to receive such funding, it is above all necessary to find out beforehand whether you meet the requirements for funding. It is also important to submit a corresponding application to the responsible institution in good time. This can be the Employment Agency, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or a foundation that awards scholarships.