In Leverkusen-Opladen, a small community near Cologne in Germany, employees of the Kolping-Bildungswerk training center help young refugees prepare for and find a job or apprenticeship in Germany. They offer German lessons, tutor the refugees in math and other topics, and arrange internships. Currently, seven young men between 19 and 23 are completing internships, or are about to start an apprenticeship or vocational training program. These young men are using Google Chromebooks that were donated to Kolping-Bildungswerk Köln training centers through NetHope’s Project Reconnect. The Chromebooks help young refugees work towards their goal – a job in Germany.
Heinz Kappertz and Peter Brenner are employees of the Kolping-Werkstatt, or workshop, in Leverkusen-Opladen and support the seven young refugees through the work-study program. Heinz and Peter proudly share the story of Daham, a young Iraqi who successfully landed an apprenticeship as a car mechanic.
In December 2016, Daham received an internship offer at KFZ Schmidt, a small car repair shop, as part of the initial qualification phase of the program. The objective of these six-to-12-month internships is to introduce participating companies to potential candidates for multi-year apprenticeships. Daham (at left in the photo above, along with Ralf Schmidt, owner of KFZ Schmidt) had already taken part in a language course and could communicate in basic German. However, it quickly became clear that Daham’s conversational German was not yet sufficient to succeed in an apprenticeship.