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Welcome Festival builds up networkd for refugees in Denmark


With music, a warm welcome speech and big wooden letters saying “WELCOME FESTIVAL 2016”, Europe’s largest Welcome Party for refugees was launched in Copenhagen the 10th of September to create new job opportunities for asylum seekers in Denmark

By Marion Chen

Stands created by different NGO’s was placed side by side with hopeful companies and representatives from municipalities looking for potential employees among more than 200 refugees who have shown. The many stands was created as a part of a big welcoming party for refugees hosted by Velkomst Festen in the big halls of Forum in the heart of Copenhagen.

Sidsel Theil, the manager of the Microsoft Strategy Department, organised the job matching area together with some of the other companies at the Velkomst Festen 2016.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to organise this job zone?

A: There is a big shortage of IT-consultants in Denmark, so we have tried out different programs to create an interest among young people, but also to create awareness among unemployed people from various kinds, who possess the necessary IT skills. Now it is time for refugees to come into IT, because we really need them.

My team gathered and we did a project at the CV café, like the one we have today, in our Microsoft Office in Denmark. More than a hundred refugees showed up, We helped them create LinkedIn profiles and so on. Because of the this experience, we realized that many of them were very skilled. They might not have the exact the skills we are looking for at first, but we can retrain them. And today, we have taken in 14 refugees that we are retraining, so they can work with our software.

Q: What do you expect from this party?

A: We expect to get a lot of new CV’s. We hope that other companies will realize that refugees can be a very strong resource for their companies – Just like we experienced. We want to make sure that the refugees are at the same level as the Danes, when they apply for a job, and they know what a CV is. We need to make sure that they are well prepared and structured for a job interview. That is what we try to do. We just want to help as many as possible.

Thomas Hübettz is the head of HR of Egmont. He is looking for refugees to hire, so they can work at Egmont in the production of an E-book.

Q: Why do you participate this party?

A: Egmont is represented at this event, since we are looking for refugees to help us get a job done working with our E-book production. We are currently working on converting books into digital books. It’s a great way to get a good working experience in Denmark. We are trying to build a bridge for the people, who come to Denmark. And then they can help us in our company. We are a company, who tries to help a lot of people, so it makes a lot of sense also to help people who come to Denmark in a difficult situation.

Q: How many employees have shown up by your stand to register?

A: Around 30. I got all the CVs and contact information, so it’s a great job for me today.

Q: What do you expect from this party?

A: I expect to meet people, who are willing to get a job, and then, hopefully, we will have a chance to have a great talk, which will help us figure out if there is a possible job match. This party makes it possible to see people face-to-face, and you will get to know their personalities a little before you see their CV’s.

Helle Ballentin is a manager of Kastrup Language Center. She’s at the big festival to create awareness about the necessity to learn Danish, if refugees wants to enter the Danish labor market.

Q: Why do you participate this party?

A: It’s important to make opportunities of learning Danish visible for the refugees. To function in the Danish society and get a job, you need to speak Danish. Moreover, this could be an opportunity for us to network. We like to be and get in contact with other companies, who have the same goals as us, because it’s very important to support refugees in getting a job.

Q: How will you help refugees to learn Danish?

A: We have classes in Kastrup Language Center, both English and Danish, and our teaching criteria is follow the European language standards which we do very well. The refugees we have out there, they go to Danish classes and also have some work beside, so they are working and learning Danish at the same time.

Q: What do you expect from this party?

A: We expect to handle out information. Hopefully, we can make new connections to other companies, who would like cooperate with us about on how we help foreigners in Denmark to get a better job as fast as possible. We would like to work with other companies on how we can help refugees develop their Danish language, while they are working. This would help companies and it would help the employees too. That would be great!

Kirsten Reiner, head of the library of the Dignity Danish Institute Against Torture, has been working for the Dignity Danish Institute for 20 years. She is spreading the word about the discrimination, torture and anti-torture movement at the Festival today.

Q: Why do you participate this party?

A: This party it is about the services that we have at the Dignity institute. Both refugees and asylum seekers can obtain information from us. This could help them a lot!

Q: What kind of help can you provide?

A: We have services of psychology and physical help and social work. So people can come here and get a professional screening, so we can talk about what they have experienced with torture, and whether we are able to help them.

Q: What do you expect from the party?

A: We can get our information out to most of the people we reach out to. Maybe we can engage new people, who would like to volunteer and support our course against the torture.


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