Diana Schnetgöke


Putting responsibility into practice with the Internship PLUS direct entry program

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How can integration succeed? Of course, by successfully getting a job. Therefore, Deutsche Telekom joined forces with other groups in 2016 to launch a pilot project aimed at making it easier for refugees to enter the labor market and, consequently, society. The jury recognized the further development of the program at Deutsche Telekom by bestowing the company with the HR Excellence Awards 2018 in the Corporate Social Responsibility category.

Everybody is able to help the needy, those seeking aid, or refugees: by donating food or clothing, by volunteering in the community to promote language learning, or by accompanying people on visits to public authorities. The list goes on and on.

Barbara Costanzo and her project team “Praktikum PLUS Direkteinstieg” are excited about the award.

Barbara Costanzo (left) and the entire project team are excited about the award recognizing their dedicated efforts to integrate refugees into the labor market.

And just as each and every one of us can make a small contribution, companies can and must also shoulder some responsibility. Deutsche Telekom assumes social and environmental responsibility. We have defined concrete action areas in which we wish to be involved in order to drive forward long-term environmental and social development: connected life and work, connect the unconnected, and a low carbon society.

The Internship PLUS direct entry program aims to do just this. We open doors to refugees who would find it very difficult to gain entry to the labor market due to a lack of evidence of professional qualifications, an incomplete work history, or because they have not completed German language courses. As part of an incremental start, the participants begin by learning a concrete task. The target is permanent employment – on a fixed-term two year contract – during which the employee can steadily take on more responsibility. During the employment period, the colleagues are able to continue participating in their language and integration courses. Company mentors are on hand to assist with any questions or issues that may arise during the familiarization phase.

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Hariri Roua, a program participant currently working at Telekom Service.

Hariri Roua, currently participating in the program in the Deutsche Telekom Customer Service unit, is happy to have been given this opportunity because, as a career starter, she has been able to integrate into society very well. Hariri proudly explains: “I have benefited from my job twofold: not only have I obtained a professional qualification; I have also gained practical experience. These benefits are a good basis for my future career. My German has also improved greatly and I am more self-confident. I am so happy that I can communicate with customers and colleagues without any problems.”

The fact that this project is strategically aimed at positions that are difficult to fill illustrates that the scheme is also mutually beneficial. In particular, the Customer Service and Technology units are suffering from a lack of experts. By training employees in these areas, both sides can benefit from a forward-looking, long-term qualification.