• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"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.

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.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Today's headlines
Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

How new German rules are holding refugee families apart
Children wait for food in Jarablus, Syria. Photo: DPA

Germany, trying to staunch the flow of Syrian refugees, has placed high hurdles for them to be reunited with their families, creating a Kafkaesque nightmare in the courts.

10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Photo: DPA

Fire up your ovens and get ready to bake - here are ten festive German cookies and pastries that'll send your senses into paroxysms of yuletide joy.

5 things we learnt reading Germany's first Charlie Hebdo
Photo: DPA.

The very first German edition of Charlie Hebdo hit the shelves across the country on Thursday. So what can Germans expect if they buy it?

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,663
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd