Berlin, May 9, 2019 — Royal visit to Germany: The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall met with refugee women in Berlin and learned about how they are given the necessary skills and training to find work. The International Rescue Committee and jobs4refugees are running a joint project offering female refugees the chance to join vocational preparation courses which will give them the chance to enter the labour market in Germany.
Their Royal Highnesses spoke to the twelve course participants about employment opportunities for refugees in Germany. They were particularly interested in the barriers to entering the labour market faced by the women.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have previously visited projects supporting refugees in Greece, Jordan and the United Kingdom. In Berlin, they were particularly impressed by the courage of the refugee women and the support they receive from the two organisations. "The support of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and their interest in the International Rescue Committee’s work is a great honour," said Sanj Srikanthan, Senior Vice President International Rescue Committee in Europe. "We need more awareness for programmes contributing to the participation and integration of refugees in Germany and throughout Europe,” added Srikanthan.
During the eight-day training course, the refugee women learn about different occupations and ways to enter the German labour market, including visits to workplaces in the care sector such as hospitals or nursing homes. In addition to practical training for completing job applications, information on the recognition of qualifications in Germany and placement with employers via a job portal, the programme also covers legal aspects such as work permits and benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. In combination with group work in the course, individual counselling and support for the women in the follow-up is also very important.
"We must be able to help refugees to develop their skills, abilities and professional motivation, in order to show them ways into the German labour market and to overcome the hurdles on their path to finding work", Robert Barr, founder and managing director of jobs4refugees, explains the challenges for the state and the refugees as well as for his organisation.
"For female refugees, it is especially important to look at their individual situation and to recognise their potential for employers. Through our project with jobs4refugees, we are not only contributing to the economic independence of women, but are also strengthening their position as a driving force within the family and thus the integration of men and children," says Stefan Lehmeier, Country Programme Director at International Rescue Committee Deutschland.
The jobs4refugees’ and International Rescue Committee's vocational preparation courses take place at the Impact Hub in Berlin Mitte, a community space for social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, initiatives and locally engaged individuals dedicated to social and civic innovation.
As a humanitarian aid organisation, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the suggestion of Albert Einstein, today the organisation employs around 12,000 people worldwide and is active in over 40 conflict-affected countries.
IRC has been active in Germany since 2016 – in response to the arrival of over 1.8 million asylum seekers and refugees. The programme work in Germany focuses on education, protection and participation as well as economic integration through employment and financial independence. IRC cooperates with the government, other state actors and local non-profit organisations. IRC Deutschland currently works in eleven federal states and reached more than 5,000 people in 2018.
jobs4refugees is a non-profit organization that supports refugees in overcoming the challenges of starting work in Germany. The organisation communicates job offers to around 22,000 refugees nationwide and supports applicants and employers throughout the entire application and recruitment process. In workshops and trainings jobs4refugees prepares the applicants inside for the occupation entrance in Germany. jobs4refugees cooperates with companies such as Starbucks, Accenture and Zalando across all industries. jobs4refugees was founded in Berlin in 2016 and has a second project location in Frankfurt am Main since 2017.