I work in youth theatre: I spend lots of time with young people and listen to them a lot and try and help them to tell their stories. It’s a great job, and I think it’s really valuable in helping young people to grow in character and learn how to deal with issues. Unfortunately it isn’t a job valued by society as a whole so it isn’t well paid at the best of times, and it’s very vulnerable in a recession.
I’m sure Germany will look after its starving artists, but our family figure it’s probably good to look for another form of employment and let the youth theatre be voluntary for a while., but on the other hand I don’t want to go into the business world. So for the past few weeks I’ve been scuttling about researching an apprenticeship as a bike wrench, and it’s incredibly complicated.
In some ways that’s good. The system is really flexible so people don’t end up wasting too much time learning useless stuff, but focus on what they need, but trying to learn how it all works from scratch in your second language is like trying to find a needle in a haystack on a dark night wearing sunglasses.
Ideally I want to have the option of being self-employed when I come out of this, and you can’t just do a six month course and then set up a shop, not in Germany. I need to have an apprenticeship as a ‘Fahrradmonteur’ (Bike wrench) which will take one or two years. Then I can look for a job. What I’d rather do is add another year of experience and training to build that up to a ‘Zewiradmechaniker (Fahrrad)’. If I have the inclination and money I can then make a ‘Meisterschaft’ which would let me be self employed. I think that’s it anyway: there are so many other options, exceptions and so much conflicting information that my head hurts just thinking about it.
What I do know is that I need to apply at a bike shop which will then enrol me in a school so I get the accreditation I need. I also need to complete an exam in German which may mean a year bouncing between school and work. Naturally there isn’t a shop within 15km looking for apprentices, so this may be a bit stressful. It’s this which is the greatest concern to us and may mean we have to postpone the idea for a year in the hope a more local shop offers a place.
I wasn’t going to tell anyone about this in case it goes wrong or doesn’t work out somehow, but I figure I’ll gain more from the support here, and if it doesn’t work… I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

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