Together with its employees, Siemens is launching a multi-stage, long-term program for integrating refugees in Germany. For this purpose, the company is quickly providing donations worth a total of €1 million. This will be supplemented by practical support worth an equivalent amount.
The internship program already in progress in Erlangen will be extended to further locations with up to 100 additional places. Moreover, four special classes, each with places for 16 refugees, will be established in various parts of Germany and will include German courses. In addition, Siemens is supporting the generous commitment of its employees, for example by giving paid leave for voluntary work in aid organizations. The company is also making further facilities available for the accommodation of up to 500 refugees.
“Siemens and its employees have already done a lot in recent weeks to help meet the immediate needs of the people arriving. Now we want to increase our commitment and make a long-term contribution toward integrating the people coming to us,” said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG.
Special classes for refugees are planned at the company’s locations in Berlin, Erlangen/Nuremberg, Krefeld/Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe. They’re designed to lay the foundation for a successful career start. The six-month training program focuses, among other things, on language courses and vocational preparation. “We’re one of the largest training organizations in Germany and know what good training is. Through our European training program that we started in 2012, we’ve gained valuable experience in the training of young people from other countries. We can now make use of this experience to prepare refugees with suitable prior qualifications for their careers,” said Janina Kugel, who is a Managing Board member and head of Human Resources at Siemens.
With a total of around 10,000 trainees and university students in two-track education programs, Siemens is one of Germany’s biggest private-sector training organizations. At the beginning of September, another approximately 2,000 young people began their training at Siemens, including this year’s intake in the international training program Europeans@Siemens in Berlin, which is now in its fourth year. For the first time, the 31 participants from 13 countries this year include trainees from Turkey and Egypt.
As a further part of the program, Siemens is offering internships to refugees still in the process of applying for asylum. The program currently running in Erlangen with ten places is to be expanded to other locations, including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. The goal is to take on a total of up to 100 interns in the coming year. They will receive the usual intern pay and will be assigned a local contact person to help and advise them.
In addition, Siemens is supporting the generous commitment of its workforce. In recent weeks, many employees throughout Germany offered their help and participated in numerous donation and aid campaigns. The company will continue to promote this, for example with paid leave of up to five working days a year for occupational groups like company doctors.
The integration program is flanked by numerous local projects. For example, Siemens has temporarily made two vacant office buildings available to the Munich city authorities for the accommodation of refugees. This was initiated by the Works Council in the fall of last year. The company is also looking into providing facilities for housing refugees in other cities.
Siemens is making a total of €1 million in donations available to support the aid projects of third parties, in particular those involving language teaching and integration support in the initial phase, and projects in cooperation with the Siemens Foundation in Germany to develop better conditions to enable people to live and stay in Africa.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press
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