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Leverkusen, September 28, 2016 – The Bayer Group and many of its employees have been involved in helping refugees in Germany for a year now. The various assistance programs, initially created as a very spontaneous response to last September’s emerging refugee crisis, have now become a major element of Bayer’s corporate social responsibility. The initiatives preparing young refugees for education have stood the test of time, and are currently being expanded.
“Bayer was one of the first industrial companies in Germany to launch various activities to help refugees back in fall 2015. We are delighted with the success we have achieved and it goes without saying that our sense of social responsibility means we will continue our involvement for the foreseeable future. I would like to thank all the employees, citizens and partner companies that have taken part in the various projects for their commitment over the last few months,” said Bayer Labor Director Dr. Hartmut Klusik on the anniversary of the company’s refugee work.
Leave arrangements for volunteers
Bayer’s involvement in refugee assistance began with a decision by the management and Central Works Council to allow employees to take up to eight days of paid leave to work as volunteers in local refugee aid programs. “This leave arrangement was a key signal to encourage volunteers among the workforce and was another sign of Bayer’s ability to quickly take on social responsibility in extraordinary circumstances,” said Oliver Zühlke, Chairman of Bayer’s Central Works Council. Across Germany, more than 70 Bayer employees have taken a total of almost 1,700 hours, or 215 days, of leave to help refugees.
Successful programs for the vocational training of young refugees
Bayer’s involvement quickly focused on programs helping young refugees with their language skills and vocational training. The first job preparation foundation course for 20 participants was launched in Leverkusen at the end of October 2015. The “Integration now” support program and the “OSZ on Tour” orientation project followed at the company’s site in Berlin in April 2016. “As a Life Science company, we can only employ people with the relevant professional training, even in industrial sectors. In order to integrate refugees into the labor force, we are therefore focusing on language tuition and vocational guidance as the key prerequisites for vocational training,” said Klusik, explaining Bayer’s approach to integration.
The initial results after one year are positive. Of the 50 young people to have so far completed the Leverkusen-based foundation course, more than 70 percent have achieved the main goal of the program – reaching B2 language proficiency as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. 12 of them have also qualified for Bayer’s pre-training program through the regular entry exam for apprenticeship applicants. Since August of this year, they and another young woman who fled to Germany have been on the course preparing for a later apprenticeship in an industrial profession. Their chances of success are good, because in the almost 30 years that the pre-training program has been in existence, over 80 percent of graduates have gone on to find a apprenticeship. Two other graduates of the foundation course have gone on to start apprenticeships in companies outside of Chempark.
Numerous training places found – including at Bayer
The outcome of the first cohort to complete the “Integration now” training course in Berlin is also very encouraging. It ended on August 31, and all 12 participants, who came from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Eritrea, now find themselves with real career prospects. One graduate, for example, has begun commercial training with the Berliner Gaswerke GASAG, while another is an apprentice carpenter and a third has started an apprenticeship in IT. Two refugees will be able to continue their technology studies as part of the Refugee Welcome program at Berlin’s Beuth University of Applied Sciences. Three others have interviews with SMEs for the 2017 intake of apprentices, and one “Integration now” graduate is switching to the local Bayer pre-training program at the Berlin site.
The equivalent course preparing young people for training in scientific jobs started a month later and is due to finish in October. It is registering similar successes. One course participant has already begun training as a chemical laboratory assistant with Bayer. Three others also gained places as medical trainees even before the end of the program. Like the foundation course in Leverkusen, both “Integration now” courses are set to continue next year. Interested refugees, support staff and public authority employees can find more details about the company’s assistance programs on Bayer’s online careers site, along with an address for applications.
Other integration and vocational qualification initiatives
Additional programs will soon join the successful initiatives in Leverkusen and Berlin. At the company’s Bergkamen site, Bayer has joined forces with TÜV Nord to offer four young refugees places in a vocational orientation project. Suitable participants can then first be given places on the local entry course called “starting out at work” and later a regular apprenticeship at the site. From the coming year, the pre-training program will also be offered at the Wuppertal site, so that refugees can prepare for a apprenticeship there, too. Since September, one refugee has also been undertaking an initial six-week internship with Bayer Gastronomie in Leverkusen. Recognized refugees also have the opportunity of undertaking two- to six-month internships with Bayer that can both serve as vocational orientation and be used as compulsory internships as part of the process for recognizing foreign qualifications.
Alongside the company, other areas and departments of the Bayer Group have also been working to help refugees for many months. Since May 2016, for example, the Volkshochschule Leverkusen (adult education institute) has been screening films at the initiative of Bayer Arts & Culture for people who have come to Germany from other countries. These films use cultural education to promote integration. Bayer is also aiming to introduce refugee children to natural sciences with the “Science4Life” academy in Berlin and experimental courses at “Baylab Health” in Wuppertal. Members of the public and employees who work as volunteers in a local refugee aid project have until September 30, 2016, to apply for financial support of up to EUR 5,000 from the Bayer Cares Foundation. The Bayer sports clubs in the Lower Rhine region have also launched numerous initiatives for refugees in the area. Bayer has also been a member of “Wir zusammen,” an integration initiative of the German business community, since February 2016.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.