One of yesterdays Innovation Tours took us to the Bayernkaserne, the largest refugee accommodation center in Bavaria. The Lernwerkstatt (“learning workshop”) located on the center’s premises aims to give refugees insights into the skilled trades, providing them with prospects for vocational employment from the start.
The Bayernkaserne, a huge area the size of some 67 soccer fields, is currently home to some 1,350 refugees – most of them housed for the short term, some for a longer period of time. The idea for the Lernwerkstatt actually came from the workmen who are responsible for maintaining the center. As soon as they unpacked their tools and materials, they were surrounded by groups of young men, and this at a time when the German skilled trades sector is desperately looking for apprentices. So, in mid-2015, some master workmen teamed up with guilds and other supporters to establish the Lernwerkstatt.
Since then, many young men have found their way to the workshop – so far it has been only men, although women are invited, too. About a year after the courses started, word has gotten around of what the Lernwerkstatt has to offer: one hour of trade-specific language training followed by hands-on training, every day. The refugees can finally do something other than wait – and, at the end of the course, see what they have made with their own hands. Plus they are given a certificate. Ideally, the participants will subsequently be placed in apprenticeships or other projects.
Find here the full story by Iris Röll on how the BMW Foundation collaborated with the Lernwerkstatt prior to the 5th World Responsible Leaders Forum (producing the party furniture for the Praterinsel).