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  5. ‘360 Degrees German’ language and social participation project begins third round - Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Group again supporting work-related German projects for refugees

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‘360 Degrees German’ language and social participation project begins third round - Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Group again supporting work-related German projects for refugees

  • Language-learning project launching again in 2021 despite coronavirus restrictions
  • Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and the City of Hannover adapting project they have jointly run for many years to the corona challenges: companies offering practical insights, focussing on digital skills
  • Flexible hybrid concept of classroom and home schooling ensures continuity in learning
  • Volkswagen Group Refugee Aid funding the project:
  • Thomas Edig: “Language facilitates social participation”
Marwan Lokman completes a digital learning during one of the previous projects

Today sees the start of the third running of the ‘360 Degrees German’ project that helps refugees to improve their German language skills and thus also their ability to participate in society and working life. As when the programme was run for the first two times in 2017/18 and 2019/20, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is again working in conjunction with Volkswagen Group Refugee Aid in assisting with the project’s implementation. By providing work-related German projects combined with imparting general knowledge on all aspects of work and life in Germany, the aim is to enable refugees to enter working life. By the time of today's launch, 24 men and women were already registered on the programme, taking the total number of participants on the three courses to 102.

Belit Onay, Mayor of Hannover, says of the start of ‘Deutsch 360 Grad’: “The State Capital City of Hannover stands for cosmopolitanism, solidarity and equal opportunities for all. Our aim is not to marginalise or pigeon-hole people, but to facilitate the opportunity for them to participate in all areas of society. That is the aim represented by the successful ‘360° German’ project. Its great strength lies in the linked-up collaboration between players from business, education, the trade guilds and the City administration. It was initiated by the Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and is now being successfully implemented for the fourth year in succession. I am particularly pleased that despite the difficult coronavirus situation two further projects are being launched this year. This project is a model for others to consider and replicate and we cordially invite you all to do so.”

Thomas Edig, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Management Board Member for Human Resources: “It is very important to us, including during this difficult coronavirus time, to support the third running of this social participation programme for refugees. For in order to participate in society and thus also to have good work prospects, you first need to speak the language. As a project partner with active social responsibility for Hannover and the wider region this understanding is firmly anchored in our company DNA. The success of this project to date shows that by working together public institutions and business can have an effect. So, I say: copy and clone!”

Thymian Bussemer, Head of Group Refugee Aid: “All around its sites and brands, the Volkswagen Group has been supporting refugees since 2015 with social participation initiatives, including mentoring, language learning, further education, training, placements and work. It is particularly important to us in this process to work shoulder-to-shoulder with regional players, such as local authorities and civil society. The ‘360° German’ language project clearly shows that when all partners contribute their expertise to refugee aid, refugees are enabled to play an active part in society and the working world.”

“We as the Works Council stand in solidarity with refugees and support the #LeaveNoOneBehind campaign. The ‘360 Degrees German’ projects are an excellent adjunct to that, as they are about the next step: developing life prospects and enabling social participation for all. It is a small but effective way of helping people to integrate, as has been shown by the experiences of the last few years. Thank you to everyone who makes this work possible”, says Stavros Christidis, Deputy Chairman of the Works Council at VWCV.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions currently in force, there can be no work placements at a local or regional company during this third running of ‘360 Degrees German’. Nevertheless, in order to give participants as much insight as possible into the working world, companies based in the area are giving presentations on their industry and entering into dialogue with the refugees. The HWK and IHK chambers of trade and commerce are also sharing key opportunities and requirements with the participants. Also, unlike for instance during the second running, the projects are not geared to specific occupational areas such as engineering or the care sector, but instead offer a general ‘work-related German’. Working together with the responsible executives of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and the Volkswagen Group, the State Capital City of Hannover's ALBuM coordination office has developed a concept for this that can be implemented even during the coronavirus restrictions. The teaching staff of the educational institutions putting it into practice are tailoring their work to the skills and interests of the refugees. In the exams too consideration is being given to the different language levels, so that particularly committed participants are able to achieve a high level, including level ‘B2’. All participants are taught the basic language of work, which opens up to them, regardless of any set occupational sectors, the possibility of being suitably equipped to apply for jobs and go for interviews. The projects, which are scheduled over a period of six to seven months, continue to include the promotion of media literacy and the reading and understanding of industry-specific texts. In order to ensure continuity in the classroom despite the continuing changing Corona situation, the participating educational institutions have made a virtue out of necessity and equipped the project participants with laptops and learning software and trained them accordingly. With this hybrid model, you can flexibly and spontaneously switch between presence and online courses. Thus, digital learning and working is not only taught, but applied in practice.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Group Refugee Aid are again supporting what is now the third running of the ‘360 Degrees German’ project. Both have been working for many years in cooperation with State Capital City of Hannover. The educational institutions executing the programmes as members of the ALBuM network are for this round of the national model initiative for people who have fled their homeland, the Hannover Region Labour Welfare Association and Leine Adult Education Centre.

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