The idea is both simple and innovative: Refugees from different countries are providing peer education to help newly settled refugees integrate into the labor market.
In four short videos, knowledgeable refugees share their personal experiences and explain to newcomers in Arabic, Farsi, English and French the counseling and training services provided at the three regional integration centers. The videos were produced by the regional employment agency with the aim of drawing attention to what is available at the new “integration points”, which are oriented toward providing career guidance and helping to facilitate the integation of refugees into the local education system and labor market.
The 2-3 minute long videos that are sub-titled in German and can be watched on a YouTube channel.
“We found the film project quite innovative. The language of the films is authentic and through digital distribution they can effectively reach the target audiences,” said Günter Schmidt-Klag and Ralf Holtkötter, CEOs of the region’s two job centers.
Azhar Saadoon Ahalboosi agrees. “The Arabic video is well done and I will share it with others via Facebook and Viber,” says the 34-year old Iraqi, who fled to Germany in 2015.
Ahalboosi, who worked in Fallujah for seven years as a dentist, visited the Bonn Integration Point in July to find out how he can get back to work in his profession in Germany after gaining his refugee status. He learned about the new focal point, which is focused on asylum seekers whose procedures have not yet been completed, through a friend by word to mouth.
“The staff was very nice and helpful. They offered to assist with the translation of my university diploma into German and to find an internship for me at a dental clinic,” says Ahalboosi, who is currently attending a B1 level German language course.
His experience at the integration point was positive, he says. He learned valuable information about the German health care and employment system as well as the procedures for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.
The videos explain who is eligible for the employment planning and counseling services and how to get to the integration points using public transportation. Thanks to her counselor, says Mahboobeh Shaban Zanjain in the Farsi video, she was able to find an apprenticeship as a makeup artist. In the Arabic language version, Khaled Ako tells us that he started a dual education program to become an electrician.
The following video provides young asylum seekers with further information about apprenticeships in Germany.
Integration Point – All Services Under One Roof
Access to the education system and professional training opportunities is crucial for the social-economic inclusion of refugees. Many of them hope to resume their studies or rebuild the careers they had before fleeing their home countries due to persecution, conflict or war.
There are now three integration points in Bonn and the surrounding Rhein-Sieg county, where different experts from the employment agency, the job center, the community and other network partners are happy to answers questions about vocational training, higher education and employment.
Their common goal is to provide individual counseling and skill assessment to newcomers, who have a good chance of obtaining refugee or asylum status, and to integrate them as soon as possible into the labor market. The integration point brings together the services and competencies of a variety of partners under one roof, which speeds up the decision making process. In addition to a wide array of specialists, there are translators/interpreters on site for different languages.
The region’s first Integration Point was inaugurated in Februay in Troisdorf (Sieglarer Str. 2, 53840 Troisdorf). It is the central point of contact for refugees who reside in communities on the right (or east) side of the river in the Rhein-Sieg district.
Located next to the job center in Bonn-Duisdorf, Bonn’s Integration Point opened its doors in April (Rochusstraße 4) as a joint institution of the City of Bonn, the job center Bonn and the Agentur für Arbeit.
The third Integration Point, which takes care of refugees and ayslum seekers from the left (west) bank river side of the Rhein-Sieg Kreis, was opened in September. It is located at the Agentur für Arbeit in Bonn-Duisdorf (Villemombler Str. 101).
The Arriving App is a guide for the first weeks in Germany and explains what happens in the asylum process, how do you find a job or a vocational training.
Disclaimer: The localization, translation and social media distribution of this blog post is sponsored by the Agentur für Arbeit.