Vocational qualification is generally regarded as a guarantee for sustainable gainful employment of refugees. Since the increased refugee migration in the year 2015, the field of vocational education and training in Germany has diversified considerably. However, despite high employment ambitions and existing qualification needs, refugee women have, so far, hardly ended up in qualified gainful employment or regular vocational training. This article examines the relationship between vocational qualification and labor-market segmentation. We transfer segmentation theory and its more recent feminist-social-constructivist extensions to the vocational training system based on empirical findings. Drawing on qualitative interview material with actors of the labor administration and implementing organizations of labor-market integration projects, we reconstruct allocation practices that 1) consist of symbolic valorization and degradation of vocational qualifications and 2) are characterized by assessment of (non-)available qualification options. The article illustrates how the interplay of gendered-racializing attributions, and the structure of existing vocational training and labor-market institutions results in the positioning of the group at the end of the labor-market and vocational training hierarchy. As a result, refugee women experience an allocation towards de-, dis- or special qualification, which channels into unqualified, precarious (feminized and migrantized) jobs on the segmented labor market and prolongs an insecure vocational transitional phase for the group. The article sheds light on the hitherto under-researched question of what counts (or not) as a vocational qualification and beneficial qualification. Since Germany plans to expand further vocational training along Austrian lines, this is an increasingly relevant question. © The Author(s) 2024.

DOI: 10.1007/s11614-024-00559-1
ISSN: 10110070