Despite their advanced training and willingness to work, most qualified refugees in Switzerland fail to overcome the administrative obstacles in their quest for employment. The Swiss Workers Relief Organization (SAH) appointed us to promote their efforts in helping qualified refugees to find work and tackle the lack of opportunities in the private sector.
Convinced that businesses can benefit from the skillset and experiences of qualified refugees kept away from the job market, we decided to set an example. We opened the agency to refugees, as it is a field of work where many career changers come together. We just did it, documenting the process, and using the material to address other businesses with similar structures.
We organized workshops to introduce refugees to the processes of a small business. The participants worked on real projects and shared insights based on their backgrounds. Based on the success of the workshops, we took the next step and offered internships to refugees, employing them in the creative department of our agency. The collaborative effort proved to be mutually beneficial: The clients and agency gained access to new ways of problem solving. And even more important, the participants gained confidence, contacts, and a positive work experience. With many, we are still in contact, years after.