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The KOMPASS Program: Germany Supports Further Training and Qualification for Solo Self-Employees in Cologne

Embrace the tech renaissance in Cologne with the KOMPASS program, designed to improve the skills of independent contractors operating alone in one of Europe's most vibrant cities. This program, which was introduced in July 2023 by the EU and the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, provides funding for individualized training in digital skills, job-specific technical skills, and company management. Immerse yourself in the vibrant tech scene of Cologne, which is backed by significant innovation hubs, and acquire the skills necessary to be successful in the modern digital world.

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Cologne's tech renaissance is a testament to the city's adaptability and resilience. While traditionally known for its media and creative industries, Cologne has embraced the digital age with open arms, harnessing technology to drive economic growth and foster innovation. It’s the perfect place to start your first steps into the tech industry. By making use of the KOMPASS program, you're not just investing in your skills; you're investing in your future in one of Europe's most dynamic cities. This government initiative provides financial support to make your career aspirations a reality, right here in Cologne.

The ESF Plus pilot program KOMPASS was launched in July 2023 in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the European Union and has the goal to provide solo self-employed individuals with the tools and resources they need to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.

Solo Self-Employment comes with professional independence, flexibility and a significant level of creative liberty. Those who are self-employed contribute to the evolution of digital and ecological change within their industries, but at the same time face many challenges. The ESF Plus initiative known as KOMPASS (Kompakte Hilfe für Solo-Selbstständige) translates to “Compact help for the solo self-employed” and facilitates this journey by offering financial assistance for personalized qualifications and ongoing training.

Empowerment and Personalization

The KOMPASS program has a strategic objective which aims to promote individual progress and corporate competitiveness. By providing targeted training and development opportunities, the program enables solo self-employed persons to reach their full potential and confidently face the challenges they might encounter in the current labor market. Whether it's improving technical expertise, refining digital literacy, or developing important soft skills, KOMPASS offers a wide range of possibilities to meet each participant's specific needs.

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Inclusion and Accessibility

One of KOMPASS' most important characteristics is its firm dedication to inclusivity and accessibility. The self-employed sector is a wide and diverse spectrum of persons and professions. Recognizing the different origins and demographics of the individual, the program guarantees that everyone has equal access to support services and training opportunities. By removing entry obstacles and providing targeted support, KOMPASS wants to level the field, allowing talent to succeed regardless of circumstances.

Who is eligible to apply, and what amount of funding is available?

KOMPASS targets solo self-employed individuals who both reside and work in Germany. They  have to have a minimum of two years' market experience and employ at most one full-time equivalent staff member.  Self-employment must be their primary occupation.

The amount of funding varies depending on the measure and region. While the more developed regions of Germany are eligible for up to 40 percent expenditure, the target area of transition regions receive up to 60 percent of eligible expenditure. The funding consists of a maximum of 90 percent of the eligible expenditure without counting the value added tax and a maximum of 4,500€ (net).

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Which training and education can be funded?

Funding covers qualifications lasting a minimum of 20 hours, to be finished within six months. What type of training is funded depends on the individual needs of the solo self-employed person and can be business management skills, digital skills or job-specific technical skills. With guidance from KOMPASS contact points, solo self-employed individuals select the most suitable provider and qualification for their needs. It is relevant that the training is AZAV-accredited, like the courses we offer at Code Labs Academy.  Our bootcamps cover different technical fields and are an attractive option for self-employed individuals looking to stay relevant, expand their skill set, and position themselves for success in today's increasingly tech-driven economy.

Application process

The application process for the KOMPASS funding consists of several steps:

  • First consultation (in person or virtual) with a KOMPASS contact point: During this meeting the employee of the contact point prepares a consultation report, checks the eligibility requirements and recommends suitable qualifications.

  • Qualification check and voucher: The contact point checks the documents and issues the qualification voucher (Qualifizierungsscheck).

  • Completion of the qualification: The solo self-employed person successfully completes the qualification (with certificate or confirmation of participation) within six months of receiving the qualification voucher.

  • Application and settlement: Solo self-employed persons submit, with the help of the KOMPASS contact point, an application for a pro rata reimbursement (up to 4,500 euros before taxes) to the granting authority (Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See). This authority checks the application and reimburses the solo self-employed person for the proportionate costs.

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Looking to the Future in Cologne

As Germany confronts the potential and difficulties of the digital age, KOMPASS invests in its workforce's skills and competencies to establish the groundwork for an innovative, resilient, and successful future. KOMPASS, with its emphasis on empowerment, inclusivity, and collaboration, is a chance for everybody who is solo self-employed and wants to invest in their skills and knowledge right here along the banks of the Rhine River.

If you are self-employed in Cologne and interested in the KOMPASS funding you can contact one of the nationwide KOMPASS contact points and receive advice on suitable qualifications in a free initial consultation or you can contact our team, who will guide you through the process of receiving the KOMPASS funding to join one of our online bootcamps.

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