Some of the hundreds of thousands of refugees that entered Germany in 2015 and later are now looking for work. German students at the University of Karlsruhe have started an initiative to match the skills of these refugees to the jobs that are available.
The project, titled Welcome 2 Work, aims to "simplify the job application process for refugees, as well as provide companies with access to a large pool of qualified applicants" according to its website. They received financial support from a social entrepreneurship organization called Enactus.
The platform serves as an intermediary between the refugees and the companies themselves. Similar to the job board website 'Monster', refugees create free profiles for employers to look at, highlighting their skills and what type of occupation they are looking for.
There are multiple types of employment on display -- from internships, to co-ops, to full time jobs. Many of the jobs are explicitly aimed at refugees. "Working in a sometimes chaotic but always fun and supporting team, refugees with the right attitude and a high level of energy could start small and learn" describes one job posting looking for a data analyst.
Recently, the initative is making a transition from being just a job board online to a local support network for refugees looking for jobs in Karlsruhe.
From website to support on the ground
"We realized refugees need more support in the job seeking process," said project leader Christian Roerig to Infomigrants, referring to the organization's transition to an on the ground initative.
Christian Roerig, project leader
"We serve as a reference for the refugees and lower the boundaries for firms to hire them" he continued. According to Roerig, many German companies have concerns about the bureaucratic red tape that comes with hiring refugees. Welcome 2 Work aims to match the refugees to jobs that fit their qualifications and their interests.
"For example, we helped a Syrian refugee who wants to become a nurse and then contact different hospitals in Karlsruhe," he mentioned. He also said that the goal of the project will be to stay at more at a local level in Karlsruhe, but they are also in contact with other refugee support organizations in other parts of Germany, such as in Munich.
He noted that the groups of refugees that Welcome 2 Work assists are a "very homogenous group - some with university diplomas and some have only accomplished basic work in their home countries." He also said that some of the refugees learn the German very quickly, especially the younger ones.
When asked about the challenges of running the organization, he said that as students themselves, they have very limited time on their hands. Some of the students running the organization study abroad, which means the number of people running the project from home often fluctuates. In any case, they have sought to assist refugees in their l0cal community in Southwest Germany on the civic level.
First published March 10, 2017
Author: Wesley Dockery