When the flow of migrants into Germany increased, some managers saw it as a solution to the shortage of specialists often bemoaned in German industry. But things weren’t quite that simple.
"Unicblue is a service provider that supports companies with everything from trade fair appearances to brand strategy – and they're a step further than most in terms of their approach to the integration of refugees: the agency – which has a workforce of 75 – provided trainee positions for three migrants from Eritrea and Guinea as long ago as last August. Two are training to be carpenters at the company’s Gelsenkirchen studio and third is in the office training to be a communication and marketing assistant. According to the contract, the new trainees’ first day appeared to be a Saturday: sure enough, all three of them were standing at the door on the dot of seven o’clock that Saturday morning – a staff member who discovered them by chance later told them they didn’t need to come in until Monday. Vivian Przechowski, responsible for human resources at the company, tells us this to demonstrate the kind of misunderstandings that can occur on a day-to-day basis. But the incident also shows how committed the three youngsters are.
Przechowski is a person who gets on with things without beating about the bush. Where other entrepreneurs tend to be rather hesitant, she has very practical response: Lack of proficiency in German? A teacher comes in twice a week – the costs are negligible. The uncertainty of the migrants’ residence status? It doesn’t need to concern the company. Under the new integration legislation they’re protected from being deported for the duration of their training – and for two more years if they do get hired permanently. The additional paperwork? Here Przechowski managed to get help: the local social welfare organisation provides assistance with homework and bureaucracy.
On one occasion, Przechowski herself accompanied one of the trainees to the Job Centre – and as she says herself, she was shocked at the very different attitude she was confronted with there. The Job Centre even wanted to persuade her that there was a much better applicant for the trainee vacancy: “An articulate German who had given up his law studies after 18 semesters because he realised just before his final exams that the whole thing was too much stress for him.” She says she was very irritated by this attitude of coming up with objections rather than welcoming the fact that a company was actually showing some commitment.” - Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24.07.2016
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