A network of over 36 German companies promised to help get migrants into the labour force, but only managed to create 2,000 places.
Heralded as a potential solution to helping get new migrants into the German labour force, the network “We Together” was formed by some of the largest companies in Germany, many of whom are listed on the German stock exchange (DAX). Consisting of companies such as Airbus, Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen, the network was meant to help ease migrants into apprenticeships or training so companies could meet their future demands for skilled labor.
After the announcement in February the network received praise from critics who saw the big corporations helping to solve the migrant crisis and preventing the new migrants from being huge burdens on the German taxpayer.
However, it now appears that only 2,000 apprenticeships and 250 training places are planned, according to a recent report from Germany’s Spiegel Online .
The network has grown since February to include more corporations like Adidas and Opel, and even some small family run businesses have signed up to get migrants working for them.
One small business called Franz Bettenbauer has hired an Eritrean man to train him as a carpenter. They boast on their website that “small and micro enterprises in crafts can help integrate, not despite of their company size but because of it .”
The larger companies in the network have bigger demands but approach nowhere near the amount of migrants. One of the largest car makers in Germany, Daimler, wants 300 migrants for an internship in the first half of 2016. As part of the internship the migrants attend a 14-week-long language course and work in various roles in the company. So far 40 migrants have participated in the scheme having been referred by a temp agency.
While the apprenticeships may have a huge impact on the lives of individual migrants, they barely make a dent in the overall crisis. Many have been critical of the program but a spokeswoman for the network said: “We are only at the beginning, but are very optimistic.”
She said that the network is looking to attract more companies by running a nationwide ad campaign in print and on television.
At the start of the migrant crisis German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that Germany required migrants because of the aging population of the country. Economists have since said that Merkel may have been wrong since many of the migrants who have come to Germany and other countries in Europe are simply not the skilled workers that many had assumed they were.
One education expert went as far to say many of the migrants were basically illiterate and may end up jobless creating a generation of men and women who are a burden on the state rather than a benefit.