Germans love vocational qualifications, with thousands of young people across the country doing apprenticeships or other forms of training. They also love the döner kebab, the ubiquitous lamb- and salad-stuffed pita bread snack available on street corners across the land. Now the two have come together, with a vocational training course in kebab production being offered by a college in Hamburg.
The first batch of 16 students -- all of Turkish descent -- are hoping to obtain a certificate in "Meat Processing with Döner Kebab Production Specialization" at Hamburg's Vocational School for Gastronomy and Nutrition. Students attend class twice a week, learning about hygiene and how to handle meat.
"Getting a qualification in kebab production should help me stay in the sector in the long term and that is what I want to do," student Dursun Atekin told the news agency Reuters. "We do some theory and some practical work and it is good because we can put into practice what we learn."
The course is part of initiatives to encourage young people with immigrant backgrounds to get professional training. "Mainly people with migrant backgrounds and Turkish people work in this business but few have qualifications," said Kazim Abaci, head of Companies Without Borders, a German association designed to promote integration in the workplace. "We want to give those people a better chance and make them re-employable."
Tens of thousands of people, the majority of Turkish descent, are employed in döner kebab fast food restaurants across Germany. There is an ongoing debate in Germany about the integration of the country's around 2.5 million people of Turkish descent, with concern about the educational and career chances of young Turkish-Germans.