DAX-listed corporations create pilot project to help refugees without vocational qualifications enter the job market

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  • A joint initiative of the Federal Employment Agency, Henkel, Deutsche Post DHL Group and Deutsche Telekom
  • Up to 100 additional job opportunities nationwide – especially for less-qualified refugees
  • Integration into the German workplace plays a key role in a person's ability to integrate into German society 
Internship PLUS direct entry

The board members of the Federal Employment Agency, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Deutsche Telekom and Henkel, with the company sponsors, at the signing of the agreement on the "Internship PLUS direct entry" pilot project. (f.l.t.r) Kathrin Menges, Executive Vice President Human Resources and Infrastructure Services at Henkel, Raimund Becker, Member of the Executive Board for the Regions at the Federal Employment Agency, Barbara Costanzo, Vice President Group Social Engagement at Deutsche Telekom, Kirsten Sánchez Marín, Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion and Social Progress at Henkel, Birgit Klesper, Senior Vice President Group Corporate Responsibility/Human Resources at Deutsche Telekom, Christian P. Illek, Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Telekom, Melanie Kreis, Member of the Board for Human Resources and CFO at Deutsche Post DHL Group, Thomas Vogel, Head of the Resources Management Department at Deutsche Post DHL Group, Almuth Schlosser, Head of Corporate Customer Services at the Federal Employment Agency, Jörn Gebhardt, advisor to the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency.

The range of available options and measures for integrating refugees continues to be discussed intensively. This much is clear, however: integrating refugees within the job market is one of the central challenges involved in helping refugees settle into society. At the initiative of Kathrin Menges (Henkel), Melanie Kreis (Deutsche Post DHL Group) and Christian P. Illek (Deutsche Telekom) – all board members for human resources – and of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), a joint pilot project has been developed for the purpose of helping refugees who lack qualifications and skills enter the job market. A refugee's job opportunities can be hampered by the following:

  • A failure to undergo or complete vocational training in their country of origin
  • Poor German-language skills that are inadequate for any sort of regular vocational training
  • Age, or other personal obstacles that can keep a person out of regular vocational training

 "The number of refugees who are looking for jobs is growing," stated Raimund Becker, Member of the Executive Board of the Nuremberg-based Federal Employment Agency (BA). "Refugees' biographies differ greatly, and thus it is often simply impossible to find jobs for refugees via the usual standard processes." Some 86 percent of all asylum seekers have no formal vocational qualification. For this large group, other integration strategies have to be found. "This is why we welcome the initiative, launched by Henkel, Deutsche Post DHL Group and Deutsche Telekom, for development of new pathways into the job market," Becker added.

The pilot project, which is to run initially for 2 1/2 years, calls for candidates to undergo an "activation and vocational integration" program (MAG) during their first twelve weeks in the project. In such programs, participants acquire an initial set of vocationally relevant skills, and they are assessed to determine what vocationally relevant qualifications and skills, including language skills, they have that could serve as a basis for their further development.

Each MAG is then followed by an internship lasting twelve weeks. In such courses, participants acquire additional practical skills and knowledge in preparation for later jobs. Participants who successfully complete their internship then receive jobs limited to a term of 24 months. The program is designed to enable the participants to move into their jobs gradually, and to accept increasing levels of responsibility in the process. Throughout the entire period, participants also take supporting language and integration courses. And they are assisted by "company sponsors" ("Unternehmenspaten"). The sponsors provide support especially during participants' initial phases – as they familiarize themselves with their new working environments – and often for an additional period as well.

All three of the companies involved have already hired their first course participants. During the pilot phase, Henkel, Deutsche Post DHL Group and Deutsche Telekom intend to fill up to 100 jobs nationwide via the program. The companies also plan to search for qualified candidates for the qualification program, working in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency (BA).

Throughout the entire pilot-project period, the participating companies plan to record relevant findings and "best-practice" examples, so that – ideally – the project will lead to the development of a model for other companies active in the German job market. The companies are cooperating closely in these aspects of the project.

With their efforts on behalf of refugees, the three companies are hoping to raise awareness about large corporations' social responsibility relative to the German job market. Notably, the companies have previously created successful internship programs, training positions, grants and jobs with a view to facilitating workplace entry for refugees who arrive with vocational qualifications.

Additional quotations from the companies' board members for human resources (with the companies' names listed in alphabetical order)

Deutsche Post DHL Group

"At Deutsche Post DHL Group, we have already gained considerable experience in helping refugees integrate into the job market: to date, we have sponsored 364 internships and hired 136 persons with refugee backgrounds. We are convinced that these efforts are extremely worthwhile," affirmed Melanie Kreis, Member of the Board for Human Resources and CFO.

Deutsche Telekom

"Integration into the job market and language development are the focal points of our commitment," said Christian P. Illek, Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Telekom. "With this program, we aim to give refugees professional prospects that will significantly improve their opportunities in the German job market. The exchange of information among the companies involved in the project gives us all the opportunity to improve our own integration measures by learning from one another."


"We all have a responsibility for helping those people who have fled to Germany to integrate into our society and our economy," said Kathrin Menges, Executive Vice President Human Resources at Henkel. "With this joint initiative, we want to create new prospects specifically for people who do not have recognized vocational qualifications, and help them to access the job market more easily."

Contact information for media offices, in alphabetical order:

Media contact, Federal Employment Agency (BA):
Pressestelle Zentrale (media office, head office)
Frauke Wille
Deputy Head, Press and Marketing
Tel: +49 911 179-3050
Mobile: +49 151 126-30577
Fax: +49 911 179-1487
Follow the BA on Twitter: +++ Information for radio stations: +++ European Network of Public Employment Services

Media contact, Deutsche Post DHL Group
Media Relations
Christina Müschen
Tel.: +49 228 182-9944
Follow us on Twitter:
Deutsche Post DHL Group is the world's leading logistics and mail communication company. In its core business areas, the Group aims to be the number one choice – for customers, employees and investors alike. It links people, facilitates global trade and seeks – via responsible entrepreneurial action and good corporate citizenship – to make a positive impact on the world.
Deutsche Post DHL Group is home to two strong brands: Deutsche Post, Europe's leading postal operator; and DHL, serving the world's growth markets with an extensive portfolio of services in the areas of international express shipping, freight transport, e-commerce and supply-chain management.
Deutsche Post DHL Group employs more than 480,000 persons, in a total of over 220 countries and territories worldwide. In 2015, the Group generated revenue of over EUR 59 billion.

Media contact, Deutsche Telekom AG
Corporate Communications
Tel.: +49 228 181-49494
About Deutsche Telekom:

Media contact, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Corporate Media Relations
Hanna Philipps
+49 211 797-3626
Follow us on Twitter: @HenkelPresse


Refugees welcome – your new start at Telekom

Aid for refugees: Telekom offers internships that can take place during the asylum application procedure.