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Entwicklungszentrum für Schiffstechnik und Transportsysteme e.V.

Smart St@rt

Integrated technical and linguistic qualification of refugees for starting a career in inland shipping and logistics through a transferable course concept

With an integrated course concept that combines language and job orientation content, the aim was to enable young refugees to take on qualified jobs in the areas of inland shipping or logistics. Based on the experience gained from the pilot course and the measures taken to recruit participants, an analysis of the factors determining success and failure was then carried out using research and interviews.

In addition to language acquisition and acceptance of and adaptation to cultural and social values, the successful integration of refugees into society requires, above all, the integration into the labor market, whereby language acquisition in combination with the provision of basic job qualifications is the central factor influencing lasting integration into society and the labor market. The Smart St@rt project is attempting to develop sustainable solutions to this challenge.

Smart St@rt adopted the approach of developing an integrated course concept by combining linguistic and job-oriented content. The project was aimed at a younger group of refugees who have a recognized refugee status and thus the prospect of remaining in Germany, a commercial and technical interest, and a basic knowledge of the German language. The knowledge acquired was intended to improve the participants’ chances of finding a qualified job in inland shipping or logistics.

This task was implemented and evaluated as a pilot project using the example of inland navigation and logistics. The course comprised four thematic blocks, each with several weeks of teaching: Basics of Education and Profession, Transport Logistics, Inland Navigation and Future Prospects. In addition, there were practical weeks on workplace safety and office basics as well as company internships.

In the course of the lessons, a number of problems and challenges became apparent among many participants that prevented an overall success of the course, such as a lack of German language skills, insufficient punctuality, high absenteeism and a great need for socio-educational support. In order to have a better chance of success in future projects with a similar objective, a comprehensive analysis of the causes was carried out.

The following reasons were identified as key to the problems encountered in Smart St@rt:

1. With regard to the target occupations and activities of Smart St@rt, the pre-selection of participants and their suitability checks were inadequate.

2. The knowledge and assessments on the side of the interested applicants about the requirements and general conditions to be expected in the respective professions and activities were still insufficient despite a preceding information event and individual discussions.

3. The teaching units had a significantly too low practical orientation. If courses with a similar objective were to be held again, the rspective specialist courses should have a much higher practical component and be taught by specialists/trainers from the respective industries – if possible with the appropriate infrastructure for physically trying out and applying the learning content.

The Smart St@rt approach is initially designed for the qualification of refugees. However, it is also suitable for use with immigrants who come to Germany through regular channels, such as labor migration from other EU countries, and who need to be permanently integrated into the labour market and society. This group also generally faces language barriers and, in many cases, a need for professional qualification. In the context of appropriate further developments, this approach can thus have a considerable broad impact and create significant added value for society.

The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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    Development Centre for
    Ship Technology and Transport Systems

    Oststr. 77
    47057 Duisburg

    Tel.: +49 (0)203 - 99 36 9 - 0
    Fax: +49 (0)203 - 99 36 9 - 70

    E-Mail: dst@dst-org.de