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including hands-on report and interview with Doris Hormel, head of the project “Bridge into the labour market” in the Network IQ Rhineland-Palatinate

Local transport has priority

The job training scheme “Bridge into the labour market” provides vocational integration of refugees to support public transport

Starting position/challenge

For some years now, the public transportation services provider Mainzer Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG) has been recruiting foreign skilled workers to meet the demand for qualified bus drivers. The MVG identified this additional recruitment potential in the immigration of asylum seekers back in 2015 and began approaching refugee accommodation centres to find appropriate applicants. ARBEIT & LEBEN gGmbH is the provider of the project “Bridge into the labour market” in the Network IQ Rhineland-Palatinate, and was brought in to deliver technical language content and to support the process at an operational level.

Implementation of the scheme

A company with a need for skilled workers such as Mainzer Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG) is a real advantage when it comes to successfully training refugees to work as drivers. MVG committed in advance to recruiting and supported the training process throughout. As a company, MVG is also very open in an intercultural sense and is prepared, with support, to take a further step forward in terms of the openness of their corporate culture. The aim was that 20 refugees each year would be trained in the (technical) language needed for them to be able to cope independently with the communication requirements of everyday working life as a public service vehicle operator in local transport. The objectives had to be redeveloped and restructured at all levels. The individuals selected not only needed to know how to transport passengers from A to B, they also needed to be able to respond safely and constructively in the wide range of different communication contexts. These range from day-to-day communication through to technical discussions. Following a competence assessment and having determined the language requirements of participants, the focus of the training content was technical language and vocational preparation. This also included preparation for tests and examinations such as a driver’s licence as well as modules on rights and duties such as work safety, business culture, formal and informal work processes, communication and information for passengers.

The participants were all males aged between 21 and 57. Most came from Syria and were likely to be granted permanent residency in German. To work as a driver, you need to pass the Chamber of Industry and Commerce examination as per the “Professional Driver Qualification Act” (Berufskraftfahrerqualifikationsgesetz). The examination is very demanding in terms of language and in particular theory, and is a major obstacle for non-native speakers. In order for participants to be better prepared for the examination, a special module on specific exam preparation was developed and used successfully. This resulted in a curriculum for the transfer of knowledge.


Of the 31 participants, seven started training and 18 were appointed as bus drivers between 2016 and 2018. An intercultural process of change was encouraged and supported in the company and this facilitated the professional integration of the new personnel.

Addressees for transfer:

Companies from the transportation and communication sector

Job training scheme “Bridge into the labour market”:

From 2016–2018, the job training scheme “Bridge into the labour market” (Brücke in den Arbeitsmarkt) supported refugees in their ambition to become employed as bus drivers with a transportation company in Mainz. With the guarantee of an employment contract, participants were taught the technical language to prepare them for their work as bus drivers. Company visits and work shadowing enabled them to familiarise themselves with company processes and requirements, and with their rights and obligations as employees. The transport company was also supported in its process of intercultural opening.


Brücke in den Arbeitsmarkt



Project partner:

Sibel Soye, Hintere Bleiche 34, 55116 Mainz, Tel.: 06131/14086-36, s.soyer(at)