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An online job market for Refugees

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Two Communication Design graduates David Jacob, and Philip Kühn’s unique website Workeer.de is the first ever training and job market for refugees in Germany. The forum whose goal is to motivate refugees, enables them to place job applications and connect to potential employers.

The 24-year-old Jacob, and 25 Kühn, told Die Welt that the concept for the online platform Workeer, found at: http://www.workeer.de , was to consider political challenges that often hinder the participation of refugees in social and economic aspects of their life.

While the issue of refugees continues to draw opinions from all sections of the German society, the web developers felt the need to offer practical solutions, as part of the motivation in their undergraduate thesis; ‘the situation of refugees on the Germany labour market’.

The site went online on June 27 last year, to coincide with the completion of their undergraduate work. Around the same time, Jacob announced through a Twitter account to have passed. As they celebrate their academic achievements, the web designers are working on a feedback platform for the web.

The refugee situation

While there is evidence of shortage of skills on the Germany job market, it is becoming difficult almost impossible for refugees possessing personal skills, to find work.

The big hurdle for the refugee worker is always to find an employer willing to hire, let alone, getting that employment contract that is vital to ascertain the legality of the job, as well as safeguard the worker against exploitation.

Although the legal provisions are complex, every case is different and should be examined on individual basis.

Updates from Workeer.de

Already the portal lists 21 jobs, from 25 potential employers, and 24 job seekers. The jobs are from different industries and locations and require specific skills from candidates. The mostly advertised sectors include, IT, craft activities, cleaning and care services. The nature of work ranges from unpaid training, mini-jobs to permanent positions.

Most of the candidates are from Arab speaking countries. Many have shown basic knowledge of German, but mostly speak Arabic in addition to fluency in English and French. The two founders Jacob and Kühn have programmed their website to ensure that both employers and employees have an informal friendly bio.

Motivated candidates

According to the profiles on the website, refugees are motivated and want to use every opportunity not to draw attention to themselves, but to utilize their abilities. The founders say the strength of Workeer website is not to emphasize on the legal implications for employment of refugees, but rather to establish a first contact between job seeker and employers.

The website also allows refugees, and potential employers to connect without being bogged with unnecessary formalities. The information provided by the applicants is automatically turned into a meaningful, and visually appealing application.

Plans for the future

According to Jacob and Kühn the future goal of Workeer is to help employers, realize the potential among refugees. As well as provide a guideline on the legal framework on working in Germany.

Albeit, all is not as smooth for the Workeer foundation, the two founders told Die Welt that they are confronted with hostilities. Kühn and Jacob have been victims of attacks on Twitter on several occasions. For now, the pioneers take the attacks with a sense of humour, and fight back with irony.

Encouragingly, they say, the positive comments on the platform far outweigh the negative ones.

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