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Company News, 2016-09-02, 02:15 PM

German President Joachim Gauck honors efforts by companies to help refugees at the thyssenkrupp Quartier

German President Joachim Gauck has honored the efforts of the companies involved in the “Wir zusammen” (“We together”) initiative to help refugees. At the invitation of thyssenkrupp, Gauck learned about selected integration projects run by the members of the “Wir zusammen” initiative, including the thyssenkrupp refugee program “”, during his visit to the thyssenkrupp Quartier in Essen today. In his welcoming address, the head of state emphasized how important the great and frequently very personal efforts of the companies and their employees are for the people currently seeking asylum in Germany. Gauck appealed to further companies to follow the example set by the members of the “Wir zusammen” initiative and make their own contribution to successful integration. Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of thyssenkrupp AG, emphasized that integration can only succeed together: “We in Germany – authorities, companies and citizens – are currently learning together how to respond to these major challenges in an appropriate and reasonable way. I hope we will continue along this path, applying commonsense in the key issues and pragmatism in day-to-day matters, and with an optimistic attitude,” said Hiesinger.

Under the “” program, in September 2015 thyssenkrupp and the Group Works Council pledged to create and fill an additional 230 internships and 150 apprenticeship places for refugees in the next two years. For the apprenticeships alone this equates to 10% more places in one year. More than 200 internship and over 40 apprenticeship contracts have already been signed. The path to a permanent job via an internship, entry-level vocational training and subsequent apprenticeship is proving successful but means a lot of work for both sides. “Employing refugees is not a solution to the shortage of skilled workers, but it is an extremely important contribution to successful integration and part of our corporate responsibility. Training is key to this as the commitment needs to be worthwhile for both sides in the long term. That’s why it’s important to train the people who come to us to the standard we need as a company. That takes time and we should allow ourselves this time,” said Hiesinger.

To ensure the “” program offers participants optimum support, the internships and apprenticeships offered are accompanied among other things by targeted German lessons, intercultural training, a mentoring system and a psychological support hotline. To identify further suitable participants for the “we help” program, thyssenkrupp is currently establishing a network of local job centers, educational institutions and social organizations.

The roughly 300 guests present for the German President’s visit included Hannelore Kraft, State Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia. During his tour of the thyssenkrupp Quartier, Gauck also learned about the projects run by furniture design startup “Franz der Bettenbauer”, mechatronics service provider ITQ, trade show construction company UNICBLUE and sail maker Coastworxx. Since February 2016, “Wir zusammen” has brought together the initiatives of more than 100 German industrial companies. One focus of the projects is to offer migrants a long-term perspective for their lives in Germany through integration into the labor market.

Pictures of the German President’s visit at thyssenkrupp can be downloaded here:

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