Laptops help prepare young refugees for vocational training

Author: Sybille Fleischmann | November 8, 2017

Eight young refugees are working together on a class project at Nikolaus-Lehner-Schule, a public trade school in Dachau, Germany. They have pushed their tables together to form two groups. On their desks, the students have laid out large blueprints for a bathroom. Each of the young men has a small laptop on his desk: a Google Chromebook. The young refugees are searching online for tiles for their model bathroom. “They will never forget ‘fliese,’ the German word for tile, as often as they have already used this word,” says teacher Markus Hoffmann with a smile.

Markus Hoffmann (shown above at center, with Wieland Holfelder, from Google Germany, and Sybille Fleischmann) teaches German in a preparatory class for refugees at Nikolaus-Lehner-Schule. This class is one of several designed to prepare young refugees for a professional education in Germany, and these government-paid “pre-training” classes take up to two years in Bavaria. In the first year, participants receive instruction in German and math, and are introduced to how life in Germany works: Who pays when I go to the doctor? How do I read the Munich subway map? How do I behave in traffic?

In the second year, students progress to the vocational integration classes. With the help of school staff, they find internships with companies that match their career interests. “The  internships are an opportunity for the students to catch the attention of the employers,” explains teacher Isabelle Bichler. “In the ideal case, the students will be offered an apprenticeship after the internship,” for example, as a painter or a nurse. Some of the young refugees who remain in the area continue courses at the trade school in Dachau during their apprenticeship.

The school in Dachau received Google Chromebooks from NetHope’s Project Reconnect for the refugee classes...

Read the full story at the NetHope Blog.

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