What is Bildungsgutschein?
A Bildungsgutschein is an educational voucher granted by the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit to unemployed individuals in Germany. The voucher funds your education or training with the goal to increase your chances of finding employment.
What is an Aktivierungsgutschein?
An Aktivierungsgutschein is similar to a Bildungsgutschein, however, it is granted for shorter periods of time to individuals to receive free coaching or training.
Who is eligible for a Bildungsgutschein?
To be eligible for a Bildungsgutschein you must be unemployed or soon to be unemployed, registered and living in Germany and registered or in the process of registering with the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit. If you currently have a mini/midi job you can be eligible if you meet the rest of the criteria.
Are students eligible for a Bildungsgutschein?
No students or anyone in Germany on a student visa are not eligible to receive a Bildungsgutschein.
Do you need work experience to receive a BDGS?
Ideally you should have some working experience after completing your vocational training or university studies, however, this is not always necessary.
Do you need a high level of German to receive a BDGS?
The level of German you need is dependent on the requirement of the course you choose. There are courses available in English and courses that include German language instruction.
Can migrants receive a BDGS with no German knowledge?
Yes, migrants with no German knowledge can receive a Bildungsgutschein as long as they meet the requirements. However, anyone taking a course must be able to follow the instruction language, which will be English or German. However, we advise you to ask the JC agent of your respective city, to make sure that the lack of German knowledge is not a burden in the process of getting the BDGS (although the chosen course is entirely in English).
If I recently graduated from university am I eligible for a BDGS?
Technically yes, but it is unlikely you will receive one unless you can prove that you cannot find work with your new degree.
If I receive a subsidy for living expenses from the Jobcenter can I still apply for a Bildungsgutschein?
Yes you can apply.
How does it work?
Is the BDGS issued for a specific course?
Typically as a candidate you will receive an offer from a school for a specific course before your appointment at the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit to receive your Bildungsgutschein, in which case the Bildungsgutschein will be issued for that specific course. However, the Bildungsgutschein can be issued for a type of course and a maximum length that can then be used for any course that meets those requirements.
Can I receive unemployment benefits if granted a BDGS?
You can receive Arbeitslosengeld (ALG) while taking your course with the Bildungsgutschein. However, the two are not linked so you will receive ALG for as long as you are entitled. If your course lasts longer than your ALG entitlement period you will not continue to receive it just because you are still taking a course.
Can I receive a Bildungsgutschein more than once?
Technically yes, however the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit will evaluate your case to determine if taking another course with a Bildungsgutschein will help you find a job. Moreover, your chances of getting the BDGS are not as high as first time applicants.
Jobcenter and Agentur für Arbeit
What is the difference between the Jobcenter and Agentur für Arbeit
These are both agencies that provide support for unemployed individuals in Germany. If you were previously employed in Germany and have paid into the unemployment system, then if you become unemployed you would go to the Agentur für Arbeit. The Jobcenter, on the other hand, is responsible for Bürgergeld and social benefits. If you have not previously worked in Germany, are a refugee, or have been unemployed for a long time, then you would go to the Jobcenter for support.
What is the Jobcenter?
The Jobcenter is an institution that provides unemployment support in the form of Bürgergeld (citizens allowance), job search assistance, as well as offering the Bildungsgutschein.
What is the Agentur für Arbeit?
The Agentur für Arbeit is the federal agency responsible for everything related to the labour market. They are responsible for implementing the decisions of the Ministry of Labour.
How do you contact them?
You can contact the Agentur für Arbeit by using this link
How to register
You can register with the Agentur für Arbeit by using this link.
Video Tutorial for Registration
You can also watch this video on how to register with the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit.
Jobcenter appointment to obtain a BDGS
What documents do I need for my appointment at the Jobcenter to obtain my Bildungsgutschein?
When you attend your Jobcenter appointment to obtain your Bildungsgutschein you need to bring your ID/passport, your CV, your educational offer from a course provider OR your course suggestions from your Match Talent Course Counsellor, copies of your relevant certificates and university/ diploma certificate.
What should I expect at the interview to obtain a Bildungsgutschein?
The interview typically lasts about 30 to 40 minutes and the agent will take a closer look at your past experiences and your career aspirations. The interview will most likely take place in German, but no need to worry if you don't feel comfortable doing the appointment in German, as we can provide you with a German speaking buddy. Read more about our Buddy service here.
Do I need an educational voucher to take an orientation course?
Yes you need an Aktiverungsgutschein to take an orientation course.
Who offers an orientation course?
Two options for an orientation course are Startsteps career compass or 1:1 mentoring and DCI.
If I receive an Aktiverungsgutschein does that ensure I will receive a Bildungsgutschein?
No it does not guarantee you will receive a Bildungsgutschein, however, it does increase your chances.
Which visas work with a BDGS?
If you have a valid visa that allows you to work (EU Blue Card, Job Seeking visa, skilled worker visa) permanent residency, Family visa (spouse visa, parent visa, family reunion visa), or refugee visa then you can be eligible to obtain a Bildungsgutschein.
Can I get a BDGS if I am a freelancer?
Technically yes, but it can be difficult to convince the Jobcenter/Agentur für Arbeit to grant you a Bildungsgutschein.
Do I need to be a permanent resident to receive a BDGS?
You must be living in Germany to receive a Bildungsgutschein, but there are various visa types that allow you to access the Bildungsgutschein.
German language classes
Can I receive a BDGS for a language course?
There are German courses you can take that are funded, but this is not funded with a Bildungsgutschein. This is not within the scope of Match Talent’s services.
Are there professional courses that include German language instruction?
Yes there are! There are courses that provide professional training along with German language instruction and sometimes even include intercultural integration instruction. You can read more about some of these courses here.
Does Match Talent provide support for migrant women in Germany?
Yes, Match Talent supports women through our initiative Match Talent for Women. Match Talent for Women aims to help migrant women in Germany gain access to government-funded education. This allows them to re-enter the job market, fulfill their career dreams and become active and independent members of the society.
What services does Match Talent offer?
Match Talent is a career centre in Germany that helps internationals gain access to government-funded educational programmes to help launch their careers in Germany. We offer course counselling to help you find the ideal course for you. We also help you improve your CV and motivational letters, along with offering our Buddy Programme to assist you at your appointment at the Jobcenter to receive your Bildungsgutschein. Read more about our services here.