Joint internship program for refugees

In cooperation with the Wilhelm-Knapp-Schule, the company Wilhelm Schütz based in Gaudernbach offers young people from Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan an internship.

The aim of this internship is to offer the refugees who have the necessary aptitude an apprenticeship. “This not only counteracts the threatening shortage of skilled workers, but also offers an economic and social perspective to those displaced by civil war and terror,” says Ottmar Schütz, managing director of the company. At the moment, different young people are testing their skills on the construction site at the TuS Kubach sports field. There, the access road is being re-paved with asphalt paving. The costs of the project are being shouldered by Wilhelm Schütz Construction, aiming to provide a clean and level path to the playing field for the team’s players and their guests.

The managing director’s motivation is two fold, on the one hand he would like to use the opportunity to support local clubs and on the one hand and to train the company’s trainees in mechanical paving. In addition, the construction site is embedded in a pilot project for the integration of refugees. Abdivisaak Hussein from Somalia and Abraham Gebrekidan from Eritrea are very pleased with this. “I enjoy it very much and I could imagine doing an apprenticeship there,” say the 23-year-old Somalian and the 17-year-old Eritrean in unison. They hope to have their secondary school diploma in their pockets in six months’ time so that they can then start training at Schütz.

At the Wilhelm Knapp Schule, some refugees are aiming for their lower secondary school diploma and are also in a position to achieve it, says site manager Christoph Vorschulze. “We give these refugees the chance to take a look at our everyday work so that they can consider whether this profession is something for them,” explains the site manager. “If they are interested and we determine their suitability, we would like to offer these young people an apprenticeship in our company as road builders”. This would quickly give the young people their own livelihood and make them fit in socially.

A total of 18 refugees are doing an internship at the company, eight of them are on the construction site in Kubach. The internship lasts several weeks. Each week one afternoon is reserved to show the young people the work. “There were no difficulties in the run-up, because the young men are regular pupils at the Knapp Schule and we have entered into this cooperation,” says Vorschulze. So there were no problems with the authorities. It is still unclear how things will develop when it comes to training contracts, and the status of the refugees has also varied so far. Some are already recognised, others are still applying for asylum. “At least a start has been made and we intend to go through with it,” says Vorschulze.