The Skilled Crafts Organisation

Foto: ZDH/Werner Schüring

Being responsible for the whole of the German skilled crafts sector, the skilled crafts organisation is divided into two pillars: the chambers of skilled crafts and the national confederations of skilled crafts.

Chambers of Skilled Crafts


Chambers of skilled crafts are non-profit corporations under public law with compulsory membership for each skilled craft enterprise. The chambers offer a wide spectrum of services ranging from advice on technical, financial and legal matters to an extensive range of training and further education courses in their own vocational training centres. They keep the crafts register and are responsible for holding examinations. As self-governing business entities they also represent the interests of the crafts sector in their chamber district vis-à-vis the political institutions and the public administration. This task is taken over at federal state level by a state’s working group of chambers or the state skilled crafts sector representatives. The 53 chambers of skilled crafts are con-federated at national level in the German Confederation of Chambers of Skilled Crafts (DHKT).

National Confederations of Skilled Crafts  

The national confederations of skilled crafts are organisations with a voluntary membership. They represent the specific specialist interests of a particular trade sector or skilled craft. The confederations support their member companies with a broad range of sector-specific advisory and other services. They also fulfil the function of employers’ organisations, e.g. they are engaged in collective bargaining or are the bodies responsible for the common institutions of the social partners.The ‘bottom-up’ structure of the skilled crafts sector is as follows: self-employed craftspeople can form a ‘guild’ at local level. Membership is voluntary. Various guilds combine to form ‘Local Councils of Skilled Crafts’. Regional confederations exist at federal state level. The 36 national confederations of skilled crafts and 13 other professional associations together form the German Association of Skilled Crafts Confederations (UDH).