Already at the end of April, there was a certificate ceremony at the CORE centre for those 26 asylum seeker teachers who were placed at 26 Viennese schools (22 primary and 4 secondary schools) as part of a non-profit/public service employment. They had gained professional experience in the Austrian school system in this way. One of them is Mohammad. The 30-year-old Iraqi worked at a primary school in the 12th district and mainly supported Arabic-speaking children. "For me, this year was a great experience. I have learned a lot of new things, which will help me in my future life and I was able to make contacts with people from different countries. I was particularly pleased that the contact with the other teachers was so good", explains Mohammad. At the event at the end of April, Mohammad and all his colleagues of the program, which had been implemented by the European Office/Vienna board of Education, could exchange views with each other as well as with Austrian experts. The buffet, full of international delicacies and prepared by the participants themselves, was well received by all guests.
New teachers for the Austrian school system
On 29th of June, the 23 successful participants of the certificate course for recognized refugee teachers received their certificates as well. The European Office/Vienna board of Education had implemented this course in cooperation with the University of Vienna. Therefore, the final event with certificate distribution was held on the university’s campus, which ensured a particularly festive atmosphere. Upon successful completion of the two semester long course, the participants now are authorized to teach at Austrian schools. By the end of the summer, they will know if they were successful in applying for a job at Viennese schools. Currently, the application process is still running at the Vienna board of Education. For those who cannot start as a teacher at a Viennese school in the upcoming school year, however, there are good chances to get a job as leisure pedagogues in other organizations.
Peer mentors supporting young refugees
At the beginning of July, a solemn award ceremony with the Executive City Councillor for Integration, Jürgen Czernohorszky, was organized for those young people who had been trained by the Municipal Department 17 – Integration and Diversity to become peer mentors. A total of 23 young people between the age of 17 and 24 from six countries of origin had completed lectures, workshops and field trips, e.g. regarding human rights and democracy, media literacy, violence and addiction prevention, gender equality and sexuality as well as information on the labour market. The personal development of the young people also played a central role in the peer training. In addition, the participants jointly developed ideas and strategies on how to pass on the acquired knowledge to other young people in the future and how to implement their own projects. "The Peer Mentoring Program is about using the potential of young people and supporting them to actively integrate into society", said Jürgen Czernohorszky at the award ceremony.
Taking chances by using qualifications
Finally, also the special training program that had been implemented by the Vienna Business Agency for people with a refugee background on their way to becoming self-employed, came to an end. In a two-week series of workshops in the sectors bakery/confectionery, gastronomy and carpentry as well as in 12-week long workshop in the area of IT, the most important theoretical and commercial knowledge on starting up a company had been provided. The aim of the workshops, which had been offered in German, English and Arabic or Farsi, was to define the qualifications of the refugees and to support them in the recognition of these qualifications. The participants of these continuing education courses were also happy about their successful conclusion of the workshops.