How can mentoring to work be successful in integrated refugee management?

The interdisciplinary project “Integrated Refugee Management in a Transnational Perspective” (IntegriF II), located at Harz University of Applied Sciences in Halberstadt in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, is funded by the ministry of Economy, Science and Digitalisation of Saxony-Anhalt. It started in 2017 and will be continued until the end of December 2019. The outcomes will be available at the latest in December 2019. 

The project title refers to the so-called Integrated Refugee Management concept rolled out as a holistic approach in Germany in 2016 by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. It aims at improving the legal and administrative framework for accelerated asylum procedures and the smooth and sustainable integration of refugees with a perspective of being granted long-term residence in Germany. Having to cope with the specific challenges of German multi-level-governance principles, turns out, however, to be problematic and calls for a more detailed approach, including specifications and evaluation. Public and private actors supporting the integration process need a reliable framework to interface with asylum procedures and network structures.

 

Bearing in mind these long-term challenges for successful cooperation among integration actors, IntegriF established a regional and transnational exchange of understanding and reflective practice in the field of vocational and educational orientation for incoming refugees. By collecting interview data with regional experts and practitioners, the perspectives of relevant network actors are compared, contrasted and joined. The field of labour market integration of refugees is characterized by conflicting policies and a very heterogeneous group of actors consisting of non-state actors like volunteers and NGOs as well as various state actors of different levels of governance. Therefore, local and regional stakeholders are invited on a regular basis to transfer workshops to discuss current challenges in regard to migration and integration policy topics, build capacities and establish new network contacts. The overall aim is to empower mixed target groups, including professionals as well as volunteers, and supporting them in view of developing network competencies.

 

 In order to recognize the many facets of mentoring to work and to make good use of its potential, it seems crucial to consider it in the legal and social context of labour market integration of refugees. Therefore, IntegriF took part in the MeMoRe consortium to contribute to the development of a broader picture of mentoring. Furthermore, mutual knowledge exchange on a transnational basis provided IntegriF with new ideas about how to design appropriate formats to facilitate mutual learning and sustainable development. Regular discussions with transnational partners allowed to reflect upon the research design of the project and to review it on a regular basis. 

Contact: Birgit Apfelbaum