The Centre for Labour and Political Education (zap) forms part of the University of Bremen. It is dedicated to knowledge transfer, civic education and continuing learning, seeking to integrate and create synergies between research, training and counselling.

Zap constitutes a main pillar of the cooperation agreement between the University of Bremen and the Bremen Chamber of Labour (Arbeitnehmerkammer Bremen). Our key aim is to create equal learning opportunities for all and enhance the permeability of the education system. With our teaching and training offers, counselling services and research approaches we seek to shape the political culture in Bremen and foster the corporate commitment of its citizens.

The Centre is a place of lifelong learning, giving people the scope to shape their individual learning and work trajectories. The training offers can be pursued while working full-time and present a place for reflection, supporting self-directed and self-organised learning. Our transfer-oriented research programme picks up the current academic and political discourses.


For us, successful learning is reflected in personality growth, empowerment and the enhancement of active citizenship. Mutual respect and valuing diversity guide our teaching and learning approaches. We disapprove of educational discrimination and precarious work and employment conditions, including precarious employment at the University.

Forming part of the University, zap promotes the University’s core guiding principles. In addition, participatory decision-making, learner-centred approaches and solidarity are key values that guide our activities, research and study programme.


The course ‘Basic knowledge in the social sciences’ is a two-year interdisciplinary further education offer of the University of Bremen. Based on biographical approaches, participants acquire basic knowledge in the social sciences and its main methodological approaches to get a better understanding of society and political contexts and processes. Being an academically-oriented course, participants have the possibility to obtain a subject-linked university entrance qualification upon successful completion of the course. They may then continue to study selected study programmes at the University of Bremen or the Bremen University of Applied Sciences.

The one-year further education course ‘Shaping organisational transformation’ offers a University certificate for work council and employee representatives. It aims to enhance the professionalisation of employee representation.

Apart from these two courses, we offer a series of further training and counselling services. On-going quality monitoring and scientific evaluation ensure that our programmes and offers are linked to practice and are continuously improved and adapted to the needs of our target groups.


The Centre benefits from the broad expertise of its staff. Based on zap’s research experience, we dispose of sound proficiency in quantitative and qualitative approaches and research coordination and leadership. Our adult education programmes are run by professionals who also teach at all academic levels in other departments of the University. The counselling offers are linked to established guidance approaches and based on strict quality monitoring and evaluation as well as the continuing professional development of the counsellors.

Zap actively supports the professional development of its young academic staff members, seeking to ensure their stable employment and career development opportunities.

Since its foundation, the Centre has undergone several comprehensive external evaluations and quality assurance assessments as an institute of lifelong learning. In 2012, it became a recognised training institute according to LQW guidelines (external certification following the quality assurance model LQW – Lernorientierte Qualitätsentwicklung in der Weiterbildung) supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Bund-Länder-Kommission and the European Social Funds (ESF).

Aims and Objectives: Learning, Research, Counselling

Zap’s key aim is to facilitate successful learning, counselling and research.

Learning is successful when

  • participants can apply academic principles and accomplish the targets of the study programme;
  • it enhances participants’ skills, competence and self-learning capacities;
  • it supports participants’ personality growth and stabilises their identity;
  • it helps participants to develop new career and learning perspectives;
  • it enables participants to realise their learning aspirations and learning pathways formerly constraint;
  • it fosters participants’ problem solving competence and complex thinking;
  • it encourages participants to engage in further learning, participate in society and demonstrate civic engagement.

The provision of guidance is successful when

  • enhancing clients’ self-organising and self-help capacities;
  • facilitating reflection and self-reflexivity;
  • helping to identify objectives, roles and relationships in a specific context;
  • inducing the sustainable transformation of structures and processes;
  • preventing conflicts and supporting conflict resolution.

Research is successful when

  • it relates to the current academic discourse and addresses issues of culture and society;
  • it is of relevance to practice;
  • it can be linked to the thematic priorities of the Centre and generates new scientific insight;
  • it is of benefit to the Centre’s counselling activities and linked to innovation and new ideas;