Hamburg’s economy already lacks 17,000 skilled labourers, according to the Chamber of Commerce’s monitor. And the need is particularly urgent in STEM professions such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Such companies are particularly open to new ways of making their firms attractive to potential trainees as part of the NAT initiative’s integration project.
Co-operation with tech companies and the Körber Foundation
The NAT initiative is co-operating with ten firms including Hydro Aluminium, Lufthansa Technik and the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and schools in the districts of Am Hafen and Barmbek and in partnership with the Körber Foundation. Sabine Fernau, Managing Director and founder of NAT, said: “We want to show young refugees what they can do with STEM subjects professionally and put them in contact with firms through guided tours and internships.
Company visits, internships and applications coaching
On July 5, HPA invited people to visit for a day, look at possible three-week internships in the metal and electric training workshops and to application coaching based on the tandem principle e.g. a physics pupil at Barmbek and a project member worked on CVs, letters of application and mock interviews with the help of HR staff at HPA.
Encouraging interest in a company
Andreea Stanciu, HR Manager at HPA, said: “It was nice working with the participants. They were all highly motivated and open-minded. And I was impressed by their knowledge of German especially their written articulation.” Ina Krokotsch, Manager of Trainees, said: “The integration programme for migrants is a great way of encouraging technically-talented youths to take an interest in our company. Two participants are doing internships with us and one of them is interested in a dual course of study.”
Investment in the future
Sabine Stüben, Head of Public Affairs at HPA, said: “Taking parts in projects to help migrants integrate is an investment in the future. We hope to reach not only the participants with such days, but also see them as multipliers. If they enjoyed it, they will tell their friends and acquaintances about it.” Yet Stüben does not want HBA’s effort to be seen purely as an investment. She noted: “We are fully convinced by this project and social commitment is generally very important to us. But also, our commitment gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of HPA as an attractive employer.” And this approach is working, she stressed. A survey of new staff found that the firm is perceived as a provider of attractive further education offers and a good balance of family life and work. That is very important in an era of ongoing skilled labour shortages.
Migrants offer opportunities
The influx of refugees offers an opportunity to hire skilled labour, said Stanciu. At present, civil engineers are being sought, but there is a general need for engineers. Many refugees have good technical qualifications – and that’s clearly where our chances lie. And the 3rd Market Place of Encounters (Marktplatz des Begegnungen) in late June where refugees met business representatives catered to this great demand. Fritz Horst Melsheimer, President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce Hamburg, said: “We have again managed to put hundreds of refugees in contact with firms in Hamburg. We hope that this results in many jobs, traineeships and internships.” More such encounters are being planned.”