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Working as a dental assistant

Starting again

Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin worked as a dental assistant in her hometown Ahwas in Iran for twelve years. As she cannot prove that she has a vocational qualification, the 35-year-old had to start again in Germany. Since 1 September 2018, she has been undergoing vocational training at the dental practice of Dr. Aneliya and Norbert Schulz in Nuremberg-Altenfurt.

Colorful tooth brushes in a container.

Training in a practice is multifaceted and holds the opportunity to gain ground in the german job market.

In the morning Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin assisted during an operation while a patient received a dental implant. She also helps to prepare fillings and dental impressions as well as cleaning instruments and equipment. “I love this work. I already enjoyed it a lot in Iran,” she says, “The procedures in the dental practice where I am are a bit different than in Ahwas, but I quickly found my way around”. In particular she enjoys working with the new, modern equipment. “The biggest hurdle is not the working procedures, but the German language” she says, “especially the technical terms”.

Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin has been in Germany for three years. After her arrival, she changed accommodation several times until she was finally able to settle in the Nuremberg area. “I came to Germany alone. That was very difficult for me in the beginning. I wanted to learn the language quickly, but that’s only possible if you talk to the locals regularly,” she explains. After six months she took part in a German course and also practiced with books and learning videos. Through a language tandem she found a woman who wanted to learn Persian - and in return supported her in learning German.

“I want to start vocational training”

Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin

When the advisor in the Jobcenter asked what Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin wanted to do for a living, she already knew that it would not be easy to work in her learned profession. “In Iran there are no training courses with diplomas, unlike in Germany. Already in the reception camps I heard from Iranians that in Germany you need vocational training. So I said to the advisor: “I want to start vocational training”.

Ingeus, an agency that helps refugees integrate into the labour market provided her with support. There, Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin passed the online test Check.Work, which determines what professional knowledge someone already has. Using pictures and technical questions, the participants demonstrate in which occupational field and with which equipment they have already worked. “With the test result, I was able to prove that I am familiar with my work as a dental assistant,” says the 35-year-old. She applied in writing to various dental practices - at first unsuccessfully.

“This was certainly due to my poor knowledge of German. However, my advisor at Ingeus believed in me and continued to look for vocational training opportunities for me outside her working hours - and opened the door to the dental practice of Dr. Aneliya and Norbert Schulz, who gave me a chance. I am very grateful for this,” she says.

Work is important for integration

Somayeh Ahmad Fakhrodin still often looks over the shoulders of her colleagues and dentists to familiarise herself with the working procedures. She now talks to patients more frequently. “Working is important in order to integrate and learn the language,” in her experience. Her German is improving from week to week so that she can now also follow the lessons at the vocational school, which she attends twice a week. “My colleagues and bosses are patient, which takes the pressure off,” she says with relief.
Her vocational training lasts three years. If she performs well, it can be reduced to two years. After that, she would like to do further training. “This is also something that does not exist in Iran. I think it’s great and definitely want to use this opportunity”.

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abi» 05.04.2019

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