WACKER’s Burghausen Vocational Training Center (BBiW) and the SchlaU School have been cooperating since the start of this year. The collaboration aims to help young refugees living in Altötting county to learn German and to find them suitable training places. WACKER President & CEO Dr. Rudolf Staudigl explained: “We see language and education as the key to successful integration. That’s why we are taking precisely these topics as the basis for our long term projects.”
Over the past two years, the BBiW’s youth hostel has already accommodated twelve unaccompanied refugee minors from Africa and Afghanistan. The refugees are taking intensive German classes to help them in their new life in Germany. They are also taking an integration course at the Mühldorf vocational school with the goal of obtaining the necessary educational qualifications for vocational training.
WACKER donated €100,000 to the SchlaU School in 2015. This year, it undertook to donate an annual €20,000 over the next five years. The Munich-based initiative provides 300 young refugees from 16 to 25 with instruction similar to that offered in schools. To date, 90 percent of SchlaU graduates have found a training place or job, or are continuing their education. Founded in 2000, the organization has won a variety of awards (including Germany’s “Integration Bambi,” the German School Prize, and the German Government’s Integration Medal). For more information (in German only), visit www.schlau-schule.de.
BBiW and SchlaU have now agreed to launch two initiatives: first, BBiW instructors will be given training in how to interact with young refugees. This training aims to provide instructors with an understanding of the situation in which refugees find themselves and an introduction to basic aspects of the law – especially relating to residency. A further aim is to ensure that the language used to teach the various subjects is appropriate to the refugees’ level of education. The idea is for instructors to learn to recognize the language difficulties encountered by refugees in subject-specific texts and conversations, as well as to help the students overcome these challenges.
The second initiative is a vocational orientation week for young refugees based in the Burghausen region. In early July, 18 refugees will be given an opportunity to get to know WACKER’s Burghausen site, where they will be shown around various plants and workshops. They will be given an insight into the diverse technical vocations on offer and can demonstrate their practical and technical expertise as part of a skills contest. By watching the young refugees tackle assignments in WACKER’s workshops and pilot plants, instructors can provide feedback on the key skills needed for successful training in metalworking, electrical engineering and chemistry.
Björn Schalles, who runs the SchlaU School, said: “In my opinion, what is particularly exciting about our cooperation with WACKER is that we are collaborating on two levels. Alongside the generous financial support, an exchange of ideas is taking place as to how young refugees can be integrated into the world of work. Wacker Chemie’s commitment takes the form of accommodations and a vocational orientation week. Its approach is a perfect example of how integration can work beyond the confines of big cities.”