A true win-win situation:
Training refugees at the DZ BANK Group
The DZ BANK Group offers refugees an opportunity to get an insight into the world of work and explore a potential starting point for a career in the service sector. Participants are also supported through a mentoring program that helps them get settled in Germany.
Young people who have fled their home country and come to Germany need to find a way into employment, and we want to help them. Based on their individual educational background, we can offer them a variety of opportunities such as internships, traineeships, or even a degree apprenticeship at the DZ BANK Group, which counts well-known names such as Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall, DZ HYP, DZ PRIVATBANK, VR Smart Finanz and R+V Versicherung, TeamBank, and Union Investment among its members. All of these group companies are generally open to applicants, depending on their qualifications and specific interests.
The working relationship is beneficial for both sides. Participants are able to gain an insight into how a large financial services provider operates, and our company is introduced to skilled young people who might pursue a career at a DZ BANK Group company in the future.
Across all locations of the DZ BANK Group, we have worked with around 100 refugees since 2017. Many of them joined us for internships or shadowed our staff as part of a work experience opportunity, but some were also offered a degree apprenticeship or an employment contract. Interns and work experience participants are paired up with a mentor. The mentor helps them get to know our culture better and supports them with organizing their daily life in a new country. The duration of internships and work experience arrangements is flexible and depends on the area of work.
The candidates are able to gain a first-hand impression of what life in a particular department of a DZ BANK Group company is like. Depending on their qualifications and interests, they are able to participate in some of the tasks that the department performs and are able to get to know our company from the inside. The mentors add to the operational work experience by helping their mentees get settled in Germany. This can involve a wide range of things such as attending cultural events, doing a tour of the city together, or helping the mentee make contacts in their new environment.
Hassan Alzayed first saw Frankfurt from the window of a train soon after he had arrived in Germany from Syria in September 2015. “Seeing the city’s skyline for the very first time was fascinating. The mix of small and huge buildings that is so characteristic of Frankfurt is not something you would find in my home country. At that moment, I thought that it would be wonderful if one day I could live in one of those little houses and work in one of the big ones.”
At least one part of this dream has already come true. For one year, Hassan Alzayed has been working in the reporting function at DZ BANK. In his role, he assists with the reconciliation of securities trades and reviews transaction data.
My only long-term goal is to have a normal life. My own flat – ideally in Frankfurt – and a family.
Hassan was introduced to DZ BANK by a fellow employee. The two first got to know one another when Hassan helped the wife of his future colleague with some Arabic translations. “We are neighbors in Giessen. Back in Damascus, I was doing a business degree. As DZ BANK was offering work experience opportunities, he put my name forward.”
After his initial work experience period, Hassan was offered a six-month internship in the Finance department that gave him an opportunity to gain experience in various teams and areas of work. He particularly enjoyed working in Reporting. When a position became available in this team because a colleague was taking a sabbatical, Hassan – now 29 years old – was offered the job. “I was particularly excited because the colleagues in this team are great. The collaboration is very friendly and appreciative.” Hassan’s command of German improved rapidly and now he is almost fluent. “I can understand everything, except for jokes,” he says, grinning. “Sometimes my colleagues expect me to react to a joke, but I didn’t get it.
The fixed-term contract was eventually converted into a permanent one. Hassan’s dream has become a reality. What other wishes and goals remain to be achieved? “My only long-term goal is to have a normal life. My own flat – ideally in Frankfurt – and a family.”