Skip to main content

German optical company helps refugees succeed at work

In 2015 alone, more than 1.1 million refugees streamed into Germany seeking a new life. Thousands more have arrived since then. For many, finding work is a key step in the successful integration into a new society.

To help with this transition, the city of Berlin held Germany’s first refugee-only job fair in December of 2016. Berliner Glas, a company that designs and manufactures optical components, assemblies, and systems, was one of the 211 companies that met with more than 4,000 refugee job seekers during the one-day event. The attendees came from a wide variety of vocational backgrounds -- from science and technology to sales and construction. They also presented challenges not usually found among native-born German job applicants.

Berliner Glas booth at job fair for refugees in Berlin
"The integration of refugees into everyday work does not succeed just by pressing a button, said Dr. Regina Draheim-Krieg, head of Human Resources at Berliner Glas.” Many conditions have to be fulfilled and willingness from both the company and the refugee to try something new is essential.”

Dr. Draheim-Krieg points out that “a high degree of appreciation, flexibility, and openness” is required by both the company hiring and the refugees themselves. Language plays a key role, and learning German is basic for integrating refugee employees, said Draheim-Krieg.

Some companies in Germany offer German language courses for refugees, while others, such as Berliner Glas, offer flexible hours so new employees can participate in language classes outside of work. Berliner Glas also pays part of the course fees for refugees.

Job qualification also plays a key role. Working with Germany’s Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), Berliner Glas has set up training for those new to the industry and experienced workers who may need additional training.

Since the 2016 job fair, Berliner Glas has taken on two refugee workers and recently hired a new intern.

Employees in clean room at Berliner Glas
There have been other refugee-only job fairs in cities across Germany and Berlin will be hosting their second on 25 January. Due to their positive experience with refugee workers, Berliner Glas will be attending again.

According to Ekkehard Streletzki, initiator of the Berlin job fair and owner of Estrel Berlin where the event is held, the response from job seekers and employers has been “overwhelmingly positive.” Through the job fairs, Berlin’s business community is creating a platform for incorporating work and vocational training, said Streletzki. “We see it as our social responsibility to ensure a successful future economy and peaceful coexistence.”

Kevin Liddane, Director of Business Development for North America at Berliner Glas, is proud of his colleagues for participating in this program, especially in light of recent violent events in Berlin. “This program says a lot about the people at Berliner Glas, the citizens of Berlin, and Germans in general who have been sheltering refugees,” said Liddane. “I believe we could all learn a valuable lesson from them.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#FacesofPhotonics: Inspired

Guest blogger: Emily Power is a Winter Quarter graduate in communications from Western Washington University, and most recently social media intern for SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. She is blogging on responses to the SPIE #FacesofPhotonics campaign, to share the stories of SPIE students around the globe.
It is a commonly known fact: students are the future. Around the world, students with ideas, opinions, and innovative minds are preparing for their opportunities to conceptualize and create the next advances for the ever-changing world in which we live.
In the field of optics and photonics, students are making a difference even now, sharing their work and building their networks through conferences such as SPIE Photonics West, coming up next month in San Francisco.
The SPIE campaign #FacesofPhotonics was developed as a showcase across social media to connect students from SPIE Student Chapters around the world, highlighting similarities, celebrating differ…

Grilling robot takes over backyard barbecue

Photonics has already made profound contributions to such areas as medicine, energy, and communications to make our everyday lives more efficient. (Hence the name of this blog.) People in all walks of life benefit from the incorporation of photonics technologies. We look forward to future advancements when the technology may help find a cure for cancer, monitor and prevent climate change, and pave the way to other advancements we can’t even visualize yet.
But here’s a photonics-based invention -- already demonstrated – that breaks ground in a new area: the backyard barbecue. Talk about hot fun in the summertime!
The BratWurst Bot made its appearance at the Stallwächter-Party of the Baden-Württemberg State Representation in Berlin. It’s made of off-the-shelf robotic components such as the lightweight Universal Robots arm UR-10, a standard parallel gripper (Schunk PG-70) and standard grill tongs. A tablet-based chef’s face interacted with party guests.
Two RGB cameras and a segmentatio…

UPDATE! Gravitational waves ... detected!

Update, 11 February: A hundred years after Einstein predicted them, gravitational waves from a cataclysmic event a billion years ago have been observed.
For the first time, scientists have observed gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window to the cosmos.
The discovery was announced on 11 February at a press conference in Washington, DC, hosted by the National Science Foundation, the primary funder of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO).
The gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.
The event took place on 14 September 2015 at 5:51 a.m. EDT (09:51 UTC) by both of…