From refugee to skilled worker: IHK welcome guide places trainees

With the help of the IHK welcome guide David Pfeil (left), Issam Alnajjar (center) is training with Heinz-Peter Küppers, Managing Director of Küppers Ingenieure GmbH & Co. KG in Mönchengladbach (Photo: IHK)

Mönchengladbach. Companies that want to integrate refugees into their operations or that already employ refugees know the problem: There are many bureaucratic hurdles that take up a lot of time, and not all of them can be overcome without professional help. The welcome guides of the training company of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) Middle Lower Rhine offer this help. And this with success, as the example of Issam Alnajjar shows, who has just started training as a technical system planner for supply and equipment technology at Küppers Ingenieure GmbH & Co. KG in Mönchengladbach. The young Syrian was placed by the IHK welcome guide David Pfeil.

The now 27-year-old fled Damascus to Germany at the end of 2015. Up until then, he had studied architecture for three years, but was unable to complete his studies because of the civil war. “That’s why I decided to learn the language first,” says Issam Alnajjar in almost perfect German. David Pfeil recalls that his CV and application documents were perfectly formulated and very detailed. After an information event at which the welcome pilots project was presented, Issam Alnajjar contacted him. In the meantime he had decided to do an apprenticeship. “I knew from Küppers Ingenieure GmbH & Co. KG that they were open to internships, so I brought the two together,” says the IHK welcome guide.

The internship quickly turned into an apprenticeship. Managing Director Heinz-Peter Küppers: “You immediately noticed that he has a feeling for buildings and that he can handle drawings.” In general, he is very committed and motivated. And with the path to becoming a technician, which is possible after his three and a half years of training, Issam Alnajjar has good prospects beyond the end of his three and a half years of training. Everyone involved is sure that the 27-year-old will make his way. Thanks to his open-minded nature and not least thanks to his private contacts with German people – Issam Alnajjar lives in a shared apartment with four female students with whom he speaks exclusively German – he is perfectly integrated. “And a prime example of how important language acquisition is,” says David Pfeil.

Companies and refugees can contact the welcome guides of the IHK Bildungs-GmbH as follows: Claudia Seifert (Krefeld and Kreis Viersen), Tel. 02131 9268-553; David Pfeil (Mönchengladbach and Rhein-Kreis Neuss), Tel. 02131 9268-557. In addition, the advisors will offer a telephone hotline on October 27th from 1.30pm to 3pm.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag as part of the program “Support for companies in the operational integration of refugees through welcome guides”.

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