Bayer Launches Further Refugee Projects in Berlin
Bayer is expanding its involvement with refugees in Germany with two additional initiatives at the company's Berlin site.
Berlin, April 4, 2016
— Bayer is expanding its involvement with refugees in Germany with two additional initiatives at the company’s Berlin site. Since April 1, 2016, the company has been offering a six-month program there called “Integration now.” This aims to provide young refugees with preparation for commercial vocational training. A similar program for refugees who are interested in scientific training will soon follow. For the “Integration now” course, Bayer is working closely with the Oberstufenzentrum Bürowirtschaft II (OSZ) vocational college in Berlin, which already provides the lessons for the regular vocational training courses at the site. With “OSZ on Tour,” the second refugee project initiated by Bayer in Berlin, local companies join forces with the city’s vocational colleges to promote career guidance for young refugees.
Additional contribution at key Bayer site in Berlin
“As the headquarters of our Pharmaceuticals division, employing a staff of approximately 4,900, the Berlin location is one of Bayer’s most important sites in Germany. I am therefore particularly pleased about the two new initiatives in the capital. These will enable us to play our part in providing career prospects for young refugees,” explains Georg Müller, head of HR for Bayer in Germany on the launch of “Integration now.” The Bayer Science & Education Foundation launched the “Science4Life” academy in Berlin last July. The goal of this joint initiative with the Berlin Senate is to promote science education among refugee children. To this end, the foundation is investing approximately EUR 400,000 in the education and future prospects of refugee children over the next five years.
“Since last fall, a large number of staff in Berlin and elsewhere have been involved in volunteering work to help the refugees who have arrived in Germany. We in the Works Council expressly welcome the fact that the company is now following up with two more programs for young refugees, and we wish these initiatives much success,” says Yüksel Karaaslan, Chairman of the Works Council of the Berlin site and Chairman of the Bayer Group Works Council.
“Integration now” provides intensive vocational training preparation for refugees
Every year, “Integration now” will provide 24 young refugees with extensive preparation for commercial vocational training. The course runs for a total of six months, and is jointly organized by Bayer Training and the OSZ. The 12 participants in each course receive at least three months of intensive German lessons along with several weeks of training in career guidance, business soft skills and IT. The program is rounded off with a commercial internship with Bayer in Berlin, lasting at least two months.
“After these six months with us, the participants can either continue their schooling at the OSZ or apply for commercial vocational training in a company,” explains Dr. Gerhard Schauer, head of Bayer’s Training Department at the Berlin site. “The support program for young refugees will not negatively impact our existing initiatives for disadvantaged youngsters such as ‘StartPlus.’ Instead, it is an additional program, for which the company has recruited two more trainers,” adds Schauer. A similarly structured course to prepare 24 young refugees for scientific vocational training will begin in May this year.
“OSZ on Tour” provides insights and contacts in large companies that offer vocational training
April 20, 2016, will also see the start of “OSZ on Tour” — a commercial cooperation project initiated by Bayer. This involves a shared series of events by six companies that will in the future invite 20 refugees from welcome classes in Berlin OSZs to visit them every quarter. These excursions will enable the companies to showcase the commercial occupations for which they offer training. Alongside Bayer, Sparkasse Berlin, the Axel Springer publishing house, the Berlin gas company GASAG, the AOK Berlin health insurer and Investitionsbank Berlin are also involved in the project. “‘OSZ on Tour’ enables us to simultaneously pursue a number of goals. We hope to support the OSZs in their efforts to provide career guidance to young refugees, allow talented students in local welcome classes to get their first look at German working life, and also enable them to make personal contact with large companies offering training courses in Berlin,” explains Eva Witzgall, who is responsible for commercial vocational training at Bayer in Berlin.
The company’s numerous other initiatives and programs
Alongside the Berlin-based initiatives, Bayer has also been organizing a four-month foundation course in Leverkusen that prepares 20 young refugees per course for a career. Bayer employees who work as volunteers in local projects to help refugees are also able to receive up to eight days of paid leave from work. The volunteering program of the Bayer Cares Foundation is also offering financial support of up to EUR 5,000 to employees and others who volunteer for a refugee aid project in the catchment areas of the company’s German sites. Bayer is also a member of “Wir zusammen,” an integration initiative of the German business community.