Press-Feature #Working at Bosch

From arrival to joining the labor market

Bosch supports the integration of refugees

Trix Boehne

Trix Boehne >


Almost 1.3 million asylum seekers arrived in Germany between 2015 and the first half of 2017. Integration is a challenge, especially with a view to the German labor market. It can only succeed if politics, business, and society work together. Bosch believes it has a responsibility to play an active role here in cooperation with its associates – in part because Bosch, as an international employer, views fellow human beings from other cultures as an enrichment and, following in the footsteps of its founder, combines entrepreneurial action and social responsibility.

Since late 2015, Bosch has been supporting refugees through a variety of measures that rest on three pillars: associate involvement, activities at the Bosch locations in Germany, and corporate initiatives. The types of support provided are geared toward local needs. Until early 2016, Bosch focused on helping meet the immediate needs of newly arriving refugees, making donations, and supporting local initiatives. For example, unused property and company-owned housing were made available for refugee accommodation. Today, the focus is on the long-term integration of refugees into society and the labor market.

Supporting volunteer work

Many Bosch associates volunteer in projects involving refugees. To support this dedication, the company launched the “Bosch hilft” donation campaign. As part of the campaign, Bosch matched employee donations to the organization Primavera – Hilfe für Kinder in Not until the end of January 2016. The total of 820,000 euros was subsequently used to support 113 projects that were suggested by Bosch associates and were aimed at both children and adults. Many of them are focused on facilitating the integration of refugees in Germany through additional language courses, shared athletic and leisure activities, and support in dealing with authorities, to name just a few examples. In addition, individual Bosch locations are also supporting local initiatives with non-cash donations.

Preparing people to work in Germany

Planning certainty and a stable social environment are crucial to the integration of refugees in society. Career prospects make an important contribution to both factors. Here, Bosch is leveraging its strengths as a company that provides occupational training and preparing refugees for the labor market in a targeted manner. At around 30 locations in Germany, the company is offering company tours, additional internships, and introductory training programs to prepare participants for occupational training. The focus is on careers such as machine operator and metalworking professions.

The introductory training programs aim to help refugees achieve the same level of educational attainment as their German counterparts. In addition to German language skills, many refugees lack schooling and a clear picture of the possible professions in Germany, which are essential to successfully completing occupational training. Bosch’s qualification programs aim to help close this gap. The respective local vocational training departments, which design the programs in close cooperation with local and regional institutions and authorities, are responsible for the measures. Bosch is making a total of 1 million euros in special funding available for these projects in 2016 and 2017. So far, 750 refugees have benefited from the projects. Those looking to start occupational training at Bosch after the program go through the regular selection process. Currently, seven refugees are receiving occupational training at Bosch in Germany. In addition, Bosch is supporting three scholarships for Syrian refugees as part of a program by the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Dedication in networks

Along with these measures at its own locations, Bosch is working with other companies in regional initiatives that offer refugees information and training programs, including Ausbildungscampus, a project by Bürgerstiftung Stuttgart involving Bosch and 15 other companies and institutions which provides refugees with language courses, career guidance, and support in writing job applications, among other services.

To pool integration activities throughout Germany, Bosch joined forces with 35 other companies in February 2016 to found the Wir zusammen network. The initiative gives various different integration projects by German businesses a platform. In doing so, it aims to encourage additional companies and organizations to offer support themselves and share their experience.

Help in crisis-stricken regions

Integration in Germany is just the last step of a long escape. Many people still continue to suffer in crisis-stricken regions in the Middle East and Africa. Bosch therefore also supports organizations that provide emergency relief on the ground. One example of this is the outpatient clinic run by the German surgeon Hassan Naggar, who himself has Syrian roots. He treats up to 500 refugees a day near the Syrian border in Antalya, Turkey – free of charge. Children, pregnant women, and elderly people in particular seek out his services. Thanks to a donation from Bosch, the clinic was able to afford six months’ worth of medication.

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 421,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2022). The company generated sales of 88.2 billion euros in 2022. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 470 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 136 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 85,500 associates in research and development, of which nearly 44,000 are software engineers.

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861–1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant upfront investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-four percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The remaining shares are held by Robert Bosch GmbH and by a corporation owned by the Bosch family. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust.

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