The Chamber provides expert consultancy services, which are usually free of charge. Topics are business management, technical and legal issues, export, technology transfer, internet entrance, environmental protection, marketing, design, trade fairs and exhibitions etc. Emphasis is put on business start-ups and the coaching of takeovers of businesses. In 2003, the Chamber was able to assist some 4,000 companies, 500 of which were looking for a successor to continue their business.
Training and Qualification
Vocational Training: Apprentices
In Germany, apprenticeship training consists of two types of learning and is therefore called the "dual system": The apprentice works with his/her company for three or four days per week. One or two days per week he or she goes to a vocational school, which is run by the state. Education programmes are nationally recognised, usually lasting three to three and a half years. The Chamber helps young people to choose an adequate trade/profession and, if necessary, to find a company willing to sign a training contract. The chamber is responsible for the organisation of exams, monitors the education.
Continuing Training: Master-Craftsmen
The chamber runs master training courses for the respective trades and organises exams. In particular, master exams are organised on behalf of the state. Being a master craftsman is a compulsory requirement to set up ones own business in several trades.
In addition to this, the Chamber provides further training concerning a large variety of topics ranging from technical and practical skills, multimedia, quality management, management skills etc. Special training is available for assisting spouses in their role as co-entrepreneurs.
Looking after their members and Self-administration
The Chamber assists with day-to-day problems of business life by providing experts, running the "building and construction conciliation board", handling problems with the compulsory military service, doing public relations, as well as establishing and keeping contacts with foreign SMEs and crafts and trades associations and organisations.
By virtue of state authority, the Chamber keeps the official register of small business and skilled craft companies, issues certificates of origin, provides arbitration and litigation, monitors education programmes and organises the respective exams.