The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'
Petra Lotzkat, 55, is the head of the Office for Labor and Integration in Hamburg.
What is it that a juice delivery person does, Ms. Lotzkat?
What is a petroleum technician? "Are we dealing with an oil drilling expert or is it just a gas station attendant?" asks Petra Lotzkat, head of Hamburg's Office of Labor and Integration. In addition to painters and IT people, questionnaires given to refugees have turned up some rather odd qualifications -- such as "self-employed juice delivery man" or "corrosion engineer."
Lotzkat runs the Hamburg-based program Work and Integration for Refugees (W.I.R.). W.I.R. has conducted around 700 pre-screenings of refugees since October 2015, with plans to complete a total of 10,000 by the end of 2016. "We want to know two things," she says. "First, what skills are people bringing with them? Second, what are the market's needs? Then we try to bring the two together." Hamburg has around 15,000 vacant jobs that are officially registered. Prior to the refugees' arrival, Lotzkat says, there was generally "no professional use for people without an officially recognized qualification." But the thinking has since grown more pragmatic. "Today, we no longer ask: What are you? Instead we ask: What can you do?"
This can lead to some unexpected solutions at times. Lotzkat cites an example: An Afghan man who had been injured in the war, visited a health care supply store in Hamburg to have his prosthetic leg fitted. While he was there, they determined that he himself had been a professional health technician. The man tried to land an internship with the company, but it turned out that his technical knowledge was out of date by about 25 years. However, many elderly people still wear old prosthetic limbs that today's medical technicians have no experience working with. But the Afghan man is fully capable. The company ultimately wound up giving him a job.
When asked if she thinks Germany can manage its refugee crisis, Lotzkat says, "yes." The experts, she says, "have been telling us for many years that we need net immigration of several hundred thousand people per year in order to ensure that Germany remains in good shape for the future. Now the people are coming and this is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss."
By Moritz Aisslinger, Uwe Buse, Markus Dettmer, Anke Dürr, Fiona Ehlers, Ullrich Fichtner, Moritz Gerlach, Matthias Geyer, Özlem Gezer, Hauke Goos, Maik Großekathöfer, Guido Mingels, Dialika Neufeld, Miriam Olbrisch, Christian Reiermann, Cornelia Schmergal, Barbara Supp, Wolf Wiedmann-Schmid and Takis Würger
- Part 1: What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life
- Part 2: Integration 101
- Part 3: Are Refugees More Violent?
- Part 4: Frustration and a Lack of Resources
- Part 5: Teaching Refugees to Swim
- Part 6: 'A Challenge Like No Other'
- Part 7: The Doctor's Advice: Learn German and Be Patient
- Part 8: A 1.5 Billion Burden for the Healthcare System?
- Part 9: Dancing Away Stereotypes and Prejudice
- Part 10: The Midwife's Migraine
- Part 11: Germany Will Need 20,000 New Teachers for Refugees
- Part 12: 'We Need Time'
- Part 13: 'We Will Only Manage This If We Have the Infrastructure'
- Part 14: 'We Will Undergo a Multicultural Transformation'
- Part 15: Refugees at Our Doorsteps
- Part 16: 1.09 Million Refugees Registered in 2015
- Part 17: Policing the Refugee Camps
- Part 18: The Refugee Bill
- Part 19: Integration Will Be a Task for Decades to Come
- Part 20: 'An Open Economy Would Be Unimaginable without Immigration'
- Part 21: BMW Courts Refugees
- Part 22: A Michelin Star and Refugees
- Part 23: 'What Is a Petroleum Technician?'