• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Berlin job fair gives refugees first step towards integration
Photo: DPA

Berlin job fair gives refugees first step towards integration

AFP · 1 Mar 2016, 08:47

Published: 01 Mar 2016 08:47 GMT+01:00

"If all goes well, they can start in three months," said Juliane Hensel, who had just recruited the two men as security guards for her company City Schutz.

Their short conversation, which may turn out to be a game-changer for the two men, Muhammad Tahir and Muhammad Asjed, took place at a jobs fair in a Berlin hotel's massive conference hall.

More than 4,000 refugees were expected at the one-day fair to meet around 200 potential employers, ranging from online retailer Zalando and supermarket chain Rewe to florist Fleurop.

Tahir and Asjed arrived in Germany around a year ago and have been busy learning the language in a bid to find work.

"Germany did a lot for us, we want to do something for them," said Asjed.

"We are serious about getting any good job, because we want to stand on our own feet and not depend on the German government," he added.

Their potential employer will now need to secure approval from the state labour agency, run checks on their judiciary records, as well as provide training.

Hensel said her company has between 30 and 50 positions vacant in Berlin alone and views these employment fairs as a key recruitment opportunity.

After all, her company provides security for several refugee shelters, and the candidates at the fair have the necessary language skills.

In addition, "the people want to work and are greatly motivated, that's an enormous advantage for our sector," said Hensel.

Some 1.1 million asylum seekers arrived in Germany last year alone, and for many, finding gainful employment is a key step towards regaining some normalcy in their lives.

Franziska Giffey, mayor of the Berlin district Neukölln which hosted the job fair, said it was time "we moved from the first phase of housing these people in need to the second phase of integrating them".

'Not enough young people'

Not only are the potential recruits keen, the employers too are eager.

Stephan Kuehne, who runs Flottwell Hotel in central Berlin, said he is ready to recruit anyone who has the qualifications and is motivated.

For him, the question of whether the candidate already has refugee status or is still in the process of applying for asylum is secondary.

"We are looking all the time for people... there aren't enough young people," he said.

Europe's biggest economy has been struggling to shake off a chronic manpower shortage due to its ageing population and economists have warned that the situation will only worsen in coming years.

Although public scepticism is growing over Germany's ability to cope with the record influx of refugees, business leaders hope the newcomers, many of whom are young and rearing to go, will fill the employment gaps.

Nevertheless, the lack of German language skills is a handicap for many.

Story continues below…

Syrian make-up artist Nawar Minini, 32, acknowledged that as her main obstacle.

She left the fair empty-handed, but assured herself that this was just the beginning as she had arrived in Germany barely four months ago.

Wolf-Dieter Muenn, in charge of training at the building company B&O, also said he did not have unrealistic expectations.

His company is looking for apprentices in electro-technics. "If we could have three to five refugees, that would be good," said Muenn.

A little later, he was engaged in an intense discussion about switch boxes with a young man, in a mix of German and English.

Maher Waked, who arrived in October with a diploma in mechanical design engineering, also viewed the fair as a first step.

"I may not be able to find a job today, but hopefully I'll get some contacts and advice," said Waked, adding that his wife will join him "in a few months and we want to build a life here".

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd