The best ideas: how refugees become skilled workers
22. November 2016
Three of every four companies in Germany are committed to helping refugees become integrated in Germany. In this article we present you three pioneering projects from the competition “Landmarks in the Land of Ideas” 2016 that unbureacratically bring together people with a migration background seeking jobs and companies.
Looking for skilled workers: the German Federal Labour Office reported more than 650,000 job vacancies in May. Many companies want to obtain young motivated employees from the ranks of refugees. Among the more than 300,000 asylum-seekers registered in Germany this year alone, 34 per cent are under 17 years old and 25 per cent between 18 and 24. “Companies are accorded a central role when it comes to integrating young people into the labour market despite different educational prerequisites”, says Christian Düppre from the initiative “Saarland Businesses Help Refugees”, which recently received an award from the “Germany – Land of Ideas” initiative.
Flexible dual training
Together with companies from the region, the initiative organises internships for refugees and is planning a job exchange. “Entry qualifications, internships, or workshop days are good bridges to professions. They enable refugees and companies to get to know each other. Before they begin their training, the young employees can acquire additional qualifications,” says Düppre. Also, he adds, it is important to make their dual training in the company and at a vocational school flexible. A good possibility, for instance, is part-time training for refugees. In this scenario, the person works fewer hours in the company and thus has time to take a language course on the side.
Experience that promotes
In addition to the companies themselves, private and public initiatives are also helping integrate refugees in the labour market. According to a current study commissioned by Deutsche Bank and the “Germany – Land of Ideas” initiative, 91 per cent of Germans have already become involved in activities in their neighbourhoods, and 13 per cent of these in refugee aid. “Landmarks” such as the Multaka museum project and the handicrafts and technology learning workshop show how refugees’ path to work can be facilitated. The projects demonstrate how people can use their many years of job experience to enable refugees to take their first steps towards everyday working life and help familiarize them with the requirements in Germany.
Three “Landmarks” that are committed to helping refugees become integrated in the labour market:
Together for integration: Saarland Businesses Help Refugees
Regional business organisations belonging to the “Saarland Businesses Help Refugees” organisation have joined forces to help refugees start training or a career as quickly as possible. Together they seek to convince their member companies to employee more refugees. In addition, the initiative seeks to inform new citizens about the German labour market, promotes exchange between employers, and intends to set up an integration fund.
Multaka: refugees as museum guides
The project trains Syrians and Iraqis to become museum guides who can then lead other refugees through Berlin institutions. Visitors and guides talk in Arabic about their old homes and get closer to their new ones by finding cultural and historical common ground. Workshops with German-speaking audiences sensitize both sides to respectful co-existence.
“Handicrafts and technology learning workshop”: workbench instead of waiting bench
To offer refugees a meaningful occupation, retired people established the “Handicrafts and technology learning workshop”. Without waiting times and regardless of their asylum status, refugees can receive pre-vocational training there and learn handicrafts skills that can be valuable for rebuilding their home country. In addition, they gather professional experience working together with others and learn German. Materials and tools were donated by the public, and the finished products go to social organisations.
Read more about the 100 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas 2016.