Creating employment prospects: refugees begin training at GIZ in Bonn

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has given a career start at its Bonn offices to five refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.

In August, four young adults will begin a course in office management, and in October one young man from Syria will begin a dual studies programme in business management.

The five trainees have also had an opportunity to meet their future employer during the past twelve months: GIZ organised an introductory training course in Bonn to give participants linguistic, technical and cultural preparation for their commercial training. GIZ had originally selected eight refugees in total in collaboration with the Federal Employment Agency (BAA), which largely financed the training measure. The Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also involved in the selection process.

During the introductory training course, the participants (aged between 19 and 24) gained practical experience in various GIZ departments. They were also given German lessons at language schools and attended the Bonn-Duisdorf Vocational College, where they were able to find out more on issues such as business processes and IT. They were supported in all organisational matters by supervisors from GIZ’s Human Resources Department. In addition, several of them made use of a mentoring programme offered by the Senior Experts Service, which provided access to individual and specialist advice.

‘The introductory training for refugees proved to be a really positive experience,’ says Jutta Heckel, Head of GIZ’s Young Professionals Programmes Section. ‘Participants were especially appreciative of the development cooperation aspect.’ Many of them are hoping to contribute to development in their home countries at some time in the future, Heckel explained. ‘At the same time, participants also enriched the various departments involved by sharing their cultural background and knowledge.’ This included a range of opportunities for exchange with GIZ staff, such as joint study groups and leisure activities with German apprentices.

This year GIZ will once again be offering eight places for the introductory course to prepare young refugees for training in Germany. The new participants will begin working and learning in Bonn from next September.