After four months of badgering, I’ve got my “Certificate of Exemption” from the local Handwerkskammer, or Chamber of Commerce. I’m now officially qualified to train people on the basis of my Occupational Therapist certificate, and it allows me to teach in a technical college or adult learning centre; I want to train people with learning or social issues, so this is a big step forwards.

The Handwerkskammer really don’t like giving these out and I was warned they’d try and “lose” the paperwork in the hope I’d give up, but I can be very stubborn if I want to. It looks like I finally wore them down with extra copies of my certificates.

The main way to get a trainers qualification is to get a “masters letter”, for me that would mean becoming a master cabinet maker on top of my journeyman’s certificate. This would take 2 years, and cost Ca.€20 000. It also involves a lot of maths, so that wasn’t going to fly. The Handwerkskammer also offer a part time course covering about 12 weekends; this costs several thousand Euro, which is why they don’t like giving out exemptions, but they are legally required to because my training covers everything in far greater depth.

They still sent a bill for 25€ for the privilege of getting my exemption, but on balance I reckon I’ve got a bargain there.