The Intercultural Education Centre (ikubiz) recognized the economic potential of immigrant-owned companies early on: already in 1987, it persuaded companies to train young people. These efforts strive to help adolescents with an immigrant background gain more opportunities to develop their skills and find an apprenticeship. Today the network comprises more than 250 companies and is mentoring about 300 apprentices in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.

What are the activities of the Network for Vocational Training?

The network mobilizes and brings together the partners, allowing them to share their experiences. It also works to ensure the good quality of the vocational training. In this way, the network promotes the training of skilled workers in the region.

Assistance for companies:

  • Helps a company set up an apprenticeship position.
  • Assists during the job interview process.
  • Develops inter-company training concepts.
  • Organizes courses for the instructors of apprentices in cooperation with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as the Chamber of Crafts and Trades.
  • Provides information on all questions concerning vocational training.

Assistance for apprentices:

  • Offers counseling services in connection with job orientation and the application process.
  • Helps find internships, companies offering apprenticeships and mentors during the apprenticeship.

Who is financing the Network for Vocational Training?

  • Freudenberg Foundation, Weinheim
  • The city of Heidelberg
  • The city of Mannheim

Which partners support projects of the Educational Alliance?

  • Companies training apprentices
  • Rhine-Neckar and Palatinate Chamber of Industry and Commerce
  • Employment Agency Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen
  • Rhine-Neckar and Odenwald Chamber of Crafts and Trades
  • General education and vocational schools
  • Vocational counseling services for youth, youth social-work and welfare services in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area
  • KAUSA (coordination center for training in foreign-owned companies)
  • ifm – Institute for Small and Medium-Sized Companies and Entrepreneurship

Why is the Freudenberg Foundation supporting the Mannheim Network for Vocational Training?
The Mannheim Network for Vocational Training evolved from the model project “Foreign Businesses Train Apprentices”. It has established itself as a successful network of immigrant-owned companies, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as the Chamber of Crafts and Trades, schools, the Employment Agency and the municipality. Throughout Germany the program is considered a promising approach for increasing the – as of yet under-average – willingness and competence of immigrant-owned companies to train apprentices.

Interkulturelles Bildungszentrum Mannheim gGmbH
Elvira Stegnos
G 2,3 – 4
D- 68159 Mannheim
Phone & Fax 0049-(0)621-1597516

Change Story

“Back to the beginning!”
In August 1996, when I was fifteen years old, my parents moved from Greece to Ludwigshafen and I attended the last two years of the Greek lyceum here. I didn’t have to take German because I didn’t have any knowledge of the language. I graduated from the school with the Greek high school degree. Afterwards I attended 9th grade at night school in Mannheim to learn German. Then I was 18 years old and looking for a job. I knew nothing about the vocational training system in Germany, had practically no idea about the different jobs available and didn’t know how or where to apply.

While walking through the different districts in Mannheim, I discovered – basically by chance – the ikubiz (Intercultural Education Center Mannheim). A Greek name on one of the windows of the counseling center caught my eye. I hoped that they might be able to help me. So I went in and was referred to the vocational training association. Even though no-one spoke Greek, I left two hours later feeling much better. The ikubiz explained the dual vocational training system and suggested training as an administrative assistant.

During my next visit, we prepared an application portfolio together. In addition, I was given a list of companies looking for apprentices in the area of office work. By chance a Greek company was looking for an apprentice, too, and they sent me there. Two weeks later, I had an apprenticeship contract for training as an administrative assistant with a company dealing in commercial vehicles. During my apprenticeship – under the supervision of the ikubiz vocational training association – I had specialized instruction every week, learned how to keep my notebooks and prepare for tests, and attended seminars. This additional support was very helpful and important for me. I was able to complete the apprenticeship after three years. In the meantime, my German had improved significantly as well.

For personal reasons, I then moved to Frankfurt and worked there as an administrative assistant in the branch office of an international truck dealership. After four years I returned to Mannheim and received a good job offer from my previous employer there. The ikubiz not only helped me during my apprenticeship, but also allowed me to complete further training programs. I attended the trainer course of ikubiz and took the examination for trainers at the IHK Rhein-Neckar in the spring of 2007. Afterwards I successfully completed a Lexware accounting course.

In February 2009, I found a new job at ikubiz. Since I greatly appreciate the work ikubiz is doing, I would like to pass on to others the help that I received.