27. January 2022 | Magazine:

Strengthening International Competence TU Braunschweig offers certificate for employees

TU Braunschweig is now offering its employees the opportunity to have international and intercultural experience recognized in certificate form. The Certificate for International Competence (“Zertifikat für internationale Kompetenz” / ZiK), which has already existed in a similar form for TU students for several years, is intended to contribute both to the personal development of employees and to the internationalisation of the university.

Andreas Hettiger, head of the Language Centre in the International House, reports that for a long time there have been efforts at TU Braunschweig to offer employees in technology and administration in particular even better language, intercultural and international qualifications: “Thanks to the cooperation between the Professional and Personnel Development department and the staff of the International House at TU Braunschweig, our university has been offering language courses for employees and staff mobility programmes for many years. With this certificate, we are now combining these offers as well as coordinating them more closely and thus supporting personal development.”

Anke Formaniak, Head of Department 13 (Professional and Personnel Development), reports that certification of achievements is particularly important to many staff members: “The demand for intercultural and international topics in our services is constantly increasing because our university is becoming more and more international.” Department 13 and the International House have therefore jointly launched the certificate and integrated it into the existing personnel development concept for technical and administrative staff. In this way, the certificate opens up career paths, emphasises the Vice President for Human Resources, Finance and Infrastructure, Dietmar Smyrek: “The certificate is important proof of the quality of the skills acquired by our staff and can for example be very valuable for internal career opportunities. It is important both for the employee and for us as a university to show that we are continuing our education in the field of international competencies.”

The Certificate of International Competence is an important proof of quality of competence acquisition that supports personal development. Photo credit: Kristina Rottig/TU Braunschweig

Three internationalisation building blocks

In order to receive the certificate, employees must provide evidence of a defined scope. These are divided into three modules, which are based on the competence model of the US scientist Darla K. Deardorff: Language skills, international and intercultural competences as well as own experiences abroad or on-site experiences in the sense of “internationalisation at home” are included in the process of acquiring competences.

“We give staff a lot of flexibility in the crediting of the three modules,” says Mirja Schnabel, staff member in Department 13 and responsible for coordinating the certificate: “For example, they can decide for themselves whether they want to take several courses in the same language or whether they want to take a broader approach. It was additionally important to us to explicitly integrate internationalisation at home giving employees for whom professional experience abroad is not an option an opportunity to receive the certificate. International and intercultural commitment on site can be recognised as well in this way.” The three modules are independent of each other and do not have to be completed in a fixed order or within a fixed time frame.

Impulses for your own work

For Francesco Ducatelli, Head of the Mobility Office in the International House, the new certificate is a real benefit for staff members: “Technical and administrative staff members are often the first contact persons for international students, scientists or guests. It’s great that we can create incentives with the certificate to gather impulses for their own work and to benefit personally from the ever-increasing internationalisation of TU Braunschweig.” For many employees, a language course or an intercultural workshop is a first step that leads to them becoming more interested in these topics. In the future, there are plans to expand the certificate to give staff even more options for intercultural and international qualification, says Ducatelli.

Staff members who would like to receive credit for their work can now submit certificates to Department 13. Courses offered by other universities or external institutions can also be credited; however, they must have been completed during the employee’s current employment at TU Braunschweig. Separate registration for participation in the certificate is not necessary. As soon as the pandemic permits, the certificates will be handed over to the employees in a ceremony in the future.

Text: Daniel Götjen / International House