The program is part of the refugee aid initiative organized by the Group and its brands. Over 5,000 refugees have received support focusing on encounter, education and job integration under projects in Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg since 2015.
Group Board Member Frank Witter said: “The integration of refugees is and will remain a major social challenge. With their commitment, the Volkswagen Group, its employees and cooperation partners are making an important contribution to this common task.”
Ariane Kilian, Head of Volkswagen Group Refugee Aid, underscored: “When we started this work in 2015, the priority was immediate aid. Today, sustainable education and vocational programs help refugees to gradually integrate into German society and find their feet in the job world.” In Wolfsburg, for example, a ten-month program offers a group of 10 to 15 refugees the opportunity to prepare themselves professionally and personally for vocational training. After a two-month intensive language course, the participants are currently attending an eight-week qualification course at the Volkswagen Academy for theoretical and practical vocational preparation before completing a six-month internship at one of nine regional partner companies. The project prepares them to commence vocational training. In addition, the Volkswagen Group supports the Regionalverbund für Ausbildung e.V. (Regional Training Association) in the implementation of a continuous language and cultural training program.
On behalf of the Volkswagen Academy, its Head Ralph Linde explained: “With our training workshops and our intercultural educational competence, we have the best prerequisites for leveling the path to the world of work. In addition to technical basics such as materials processing, electrical engineering or IT basics, the program also includes interdisciplinary topics such as work safety, learning strategies, and the legal framework.”
So far, 31 refugees from 10 countries have participated in the cooperation project in Wolfsburg. Almost all graduates of the last two years were subsequently offered a vocational training contract. Participants from previous years will successfully complete their vocational training this year.
Kristin Panse, Managing Director of the Regionaverbund für Ausbildung e.V., added: “With the cooperation project, we are explicitly orienting ourselves to the strengths and career aspirations of the participants. This is also the basis for selecting the regional partner companies that provide a vocational training place following qualification, and thus make a significant contribution to the sustainable success of the project.”
Since 2015, Volkswagen Group Refugee Aid has been initiating and coordinating cross-brand integration programs that prepare young people for the vocational training and job market, and has already reached over 5,000 refugees. The spectrum ranges from the Wolfsburg model project “Training Perspectives for Refugees”, the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles “German 360 Degrees” project, the “Porsche Integration Year”, and Audi classes on professional and cultural skills to industrial internships with subsequent career entry at MAN. Apart from education and job integration programs, a further important aspect is regular contact between refugees and company employees. That is why Volkswagen Group Refugee Aid also supports employees who engage as volunteers, and organizes encounters such as the “Kitchen Stories”.