From entry qualification to vocational training: Talking to ZMT's Ghasem Mosaie and Christian Brandt
Ghasem Mosaie has been working at ZMT for just over a year. After an internship at the institute, he started a so-called professional entry qualification (EQ) last summer. Born in Afghanistan, he grew up in Maskad in northeastern Iran and fled to Germany at the age of 18 via Greece and Hungary. In a joint chat with his trainer Christian Brandt Ghasem talks about his work at ZMT and his wishes for the future. At the time of the interview, Ghasem was still hoping to get an apprenticeship as an electrician. He has recently signed a contract and will begin his training as an Electronics Technician for Energy and Building Technology on 1 August.
How did you find out about ZMT?
Ghasem: Thomas Rau, the head of the IT department at ZMT, was my German teacher at the local YMCA. Thomas asked if any of us wanted to work at ZMT. I was interested, so I said yes. That was it. I started working here in February 2018.
You are now doing an entry qualification with us. What are you learning here?
Ghasem: I learn all kinds of things, for example what tools are called and how to work with them. Always different things for a craftsman.
What does a working day at ZMT look like for you?
Ghasem: I start at 8 a.m. and work with Christian [Brandt]. When Christian is at a seminar or on vacation, I work with Epi Yéyi in the electronics workshop or with Nico Högemann from IT.
So you learn what happens in the workshops at the ZMT, but you also work with computers?
Ghasem: Nico shows me how to use it to search the Internet, write an e-mail or a letter. I learn how to use a computer properly.
Do you also go to school?
Ghasem: I spend two weeks at the ZMT and one week at the vocational school. I have politics, electronics and German as my subjects. The lessons are also in German. That's not easy, but I have to try.
How do you like it at ZMT?
Ghasem: My colleagues are all nice. If I need help, for example if I have problems at school, then Epi, Christian or Thomas help me and explain everything to me again. I also go to the coffee round at F6 to meet other people from ZMT.
Do you already know what you'd like to do after your time at ZMT?
Ghasem: I like to become an electrician, that's why I'm here and want to learn something. After that I want to do an apprenticeship as an electrician. I wanted to become an electrician when I was a child. In Iran I went to school up to 7th grade, then I worked as a plasterer on construction sites.
Christian, how does the entry qualification (EQ) at ZMT help with getting an apprenticeship?
Christian: EQ is a preparatory year of training, which means that we show people how a vocational training works in Germany. We'd like to convey a feeling for dual training, i.e. for school on the one hand and in-company training on the other. An entry qualification lasts one year and simulates the first year of training. When Ghasem starts his vocational training, the first year is repeated and he has already learnt a lot of the content and the topics at school. This makes it easier for him to get started.
How do you work together in the ZMT workshop?
Christian: I have been responsible for the workshop for almost two years and together with Ghasem we process the orders that come in. These are mostly expedition-relevant items, custom-made items or setups for field expriments such as sediment traps, measuring chambers or underwater casing. We do the manual work, and Ghasem will be able to use the skills he learns later in his training.
Ghasem, what did you learn that you didn't know before?
Ghasem: I learned how to make electrical circuits and how to lay cables properly.
Christian (laughs): Yes, they always have to be rectangular and straight. I'm actually a trained electrician and can remember well how I had to learn that, too.
How did you get to work with Ghasem?
Christian: Our working together resulted from a conversation with Thomas Rau and Christina Schrader from the MEDIA Unit about training in general at ZMT. We talked about all the young people who had to flee their home countries and had come to Germany and their problems, e.g. starting their careers here. Together with ZMT we then developed a plan to offer the entry qualification here. Through Thomas Rau's voluntary work he already had contact with refugees and we could quickly find interested candidates.
What do you have to do to be allowed to work as an instructor?
Christian: Since I already have trained as an electrician myself, the specialist knowledge was not the problem. However, I had wished to be able to obtain a trainer's certificate. That's what the ZMT made possible for me and so I could get going.
What does your working day look like?
Christian: There are different ways to teach young people. What we use most often is the so called "Lehrgespräch". I show Ghasem something, explain to him how and why it works the way it does and then we solve a task together. Afterwards, Ghasem repeats this task alone and practices it. Teaching and learning craftmanship skills is very much based on repetition. In the workshop, for example, we build electrical circuits. Ghasem builds these after we have talked about it or he gets a plan. Afterwards we test the circuit and if necessary do some troubleshooting togther. But we also help other colleagues of ZMT, when support is needed, such as MAREE, the marine experimental facility. Together with Epi, Ghasem learns how to solder, but they also do a lot of theory. Ghasem also writes reports for school, which I have to check. In addition he has computer lessons with Nico.
Ghasem: Christian can explain well, I think he also has a lot of patience with me.
Christian: Things take their time to learn and understand, this is always the case.
Has Ghasem changed during his time at ZMT?
Christian (turning to Ghasem): Ghasem, you speak much more and much better German. In the beginning you were rather shy. And in the work we do together, you get better and faster.
Enough talk about work. Ghasem, how long have you been in Germany? Have you found many friends here?
Ghasem: I have been in Germany for more than three years and I live in Gröpelingen. I have met many Afghans, but also Germans. Every Wednesday I play football and go dancing. That means contact improvisation and takes place in the warehouse, where I also meet a lot of people.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Ghasem: Sometimes I go swimming in the Waller Bad on Tuesdays, I did a swimming course and now I practice.
What do you like about Germany, Ghasem?
Ghasem: I like that it is safe in Germany and that men and women have equal rights.
What do you wish for your future in Germany?
Ghasem: I am at ZMT until August 2019, when I would like to start my vocational training. I don't know what comes after that yet. But I hope that my asylum application will be approved and that I can stay and work here.