TALK | Burkhard Schäfer, Head of the SOS Vocational Training Center Berlin: "Companies have to rethink the care of trainees"

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TALK | Burkhard Schäfer, head of the SOS vocational training center Berlin:In his training center in Berlin-Wedding, Burkhard Schäfer prepares disadvantaged young people for the job market and their lives. To start a current charity campaign, he tells in an interview what is important when dealing with young people and what Company could improve on vocational training.

Burkhard Schäfer was, among other things, a social worker, the staff leader of a foundation, the workshops in detention centers, an assessor at the labor court, and worked at the Berlin Senate Administration before taking over the management of the SOS Vocational Training Center Berlin-Wedding. Schäfer first completed the Realschulabschluss at a non-niche school and learned toolmakers. The combination of education and middle maturity enabled him to study at a Fachoberschule. He first studied social pedagogy at a Fachhochschule, then later on educational sciences.

Here writes for you:

Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Mr. Schäfer, how many young people do you look after in your institution?

A total of 250 youngsters, including 160 trainees in 10 professions of service and craftsmanship and 90, who are still able to find out which profession lies ahead in their professional orientation. In addition 100 mothers, who prepare themselves for the professional re-entry, are coming.

Many companies complain today that they do not find suitable trainees. What do you think?

Businesses need to be more responsive to the needs of young people. So far, they are demanding above all that the adolescents comply with them and are practically ready to go to school. Instead, you should pick up the young people as a personality where they stand. But of course they also convey the rules.

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Do employers have too high demands?

The ideals that a company would like to convey to the outside world must also live up to it. The adolescents are very critical and notice very well, if claim and reality do not match. It's so beautiful: "How it sounds in the forest ..." - that's true here too.

Please give a concrete example: where could employers focus more on the needs of young people? And what do they get from it?

For example, young mothers. For employers often a KO criterion. Companies should particularly promote this because they can organize extremely well and are usually faster and more diligent. Ideal workers. Companies would have to be more flexible in working hours. Or people with disabilities: We had here for example a Kochazubi with hearing difficulties - but his job he did 1A.

What do you do differently than companies on the first labor market?

It is precisely this: We go into the people and ask them what they want. Then we set up a promotion plan and a target agreement. In addition to the masters, teachers and social pedagogues are also at their disposal - a considerable effort. There are of course also rules: Who steals or acts with drugs, flies out. I make this clear to the young people right at the beginning.

What kind of people are coming to them?

Young people with so-called funding needs, which are sent here by the job centers, the youth office or the employment agencies, because they can not be promoted anywhere else. Above all, however, the young people themselves also need to have an education.

They spoke of great effort: Is it worth it?

Naturally. The young people notice that we take care of them. And that's not all: those who, for example, receive training in the service of our training restaurant "Rossi", will also receive positive feedback in customer contact. Even guests from McKinsey or the police come there. This strengthens the self-confidence! And that's what matters: the formation of personality!

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What is the success rate?

65% of our young people graduate from the IHK or Handwerkskammer.

And how many will find a job afterwards?

We do not have exact figures, because we only have one third of the young people afterwards. But whoever has learned a profession always comes somewhere because he has upset the discipline and realized that achievement can achieve something. For example, one of our trainees as painter and painter, now working as a musician. Because people do not learn here primarily for the labor market, but for life.

What are you doing to get the young people into the first job market?

For example, we cooperate with various cooperation partners, which enable our apprenticeship internships - in some cases also abroad. Sometimes trainees are also taken over.

Speaking of cooperation partners: How do you finance yourself?

Our training center has 70 employees and costs 5 million euros a year. We get three million from the employment agencies, youth services and job centers. Two million I must reinhohlen by donations and what we ourselves with the restaurant or handicraft achievements.

Do you do publicity or advertising?

Unfortunately, we do not have the means to do this, but our cooperation partners repeatedly bring us media attention with targeted actions. For example, the hotel group Marriott, who have now started the charity campaign "You Eat, We Give" in February in the 280 European houses: Whoever goes out to eat, supports the promotion of disadvantaged young people with one Euro per place. Depending on the country, Marriott supports various projects, but the entire proceeds from Germany benefit us.

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