Commitment and conviction: The Volkswagen Group and its employees support refugees in many different ways
Assuming social responsibility is one of the fundamental tenets of the corporate culture. Since fall 2015, we have been committed to providing refugees with emergency assistance, thus assisting them with their integration into society. As part of these efforts, the company has set up the “Volkswagen refugee support” unit that is overseen by the Board of Management member who is in charge of human resources and organization. The unit's responsibilities include coordinating across the Volkswagen Group’s brands, refugee assistance projects, initiating and carrying out measures and forming networks with other active companies and relief organizations.
The initial focus of the actions undertaken by the Volkswagen Group and its employees was on emergency assistance – work that included providing experts and vehicles to refugee shelters, as well as monetary and non-monetary donations.
At the moment, the Volkswagen Group has given priority to German language acquisition and pre-qualifications. After all, these are the keys to a refugee’s ability to attend occupational training courses and to becoming integrated into the workforce. As part of these activities, a number of Group locations have created programs to determine an individual's skill level, are providing language qualification courses and are offering opportunities to experience the world of work during internships and preparation for occupational training programs. The projects range from Audi’s classes in which refugees can earn a school diploma to scholarships offered by the Volkswagen Group, from an internship program at Volkswagen Passenger Cars to the language course “Deutsch 360°” at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and from Porsche’s “integration year” to MAN’s internships that can lead to full-time employment. With the help of these activities, the first participants have successfully applied for jobs and training programs. In 2016 and 2017, about 3,500 refugees attended language and occupational-qualification programs across Germany. Several thousand refugees also benefited from emergency assistance.
Another goal of the refugee-support efforts provided by the Volkswagen Group is to strengthen employees’ commitment and to provide interested employees with ideas and suggestions that they can use to offer assistance jointly with cities and relief organizations and to organize such aid. We believe one thing in particular: The Volkswagen Group, its brands, its locations and its employees can do more than simply provide humanitarian relief through their work on behalf of refugees. They can also contribute to overall social cohesion and the integration of the new arrivals. We are contributing our expertise and that of our employees with this very goal in mind.