In the giving spirit of the season, OTCs are in Action in Europe, where Bayer has been helping refugees. Last month, the company announced the donation of ointments, pain relievers and antibiotics worth more than US$1.5mn to aid organisations in Turkey, Greece and Austria.
Bayer also implemented educational programmes in Germany to help refugees assimilate into a new culture. “Integrating the refugees is one of the most important challenges facing our whole society at the moment. Bayer therefore intends to use a variety of means of ensuring that young refugees in particular are offered a perspective,” explains Bayer Labor Director, Michael König.
Already, 20 refugees have begun a foundation course at the Chempark Leverkusen site to prepare for vocational training. The course is fully financed by Bayer and organised by certified refugee aid providers. “The course will last a total of four months, with the goal of improving the language skills of the refugees, which are often not good enough for starting work, and providing the participants with initial career guidance,” explains Georg Müller, head of HR for Bayer in Germany.
Afterwards, the young refugees can complete a four-week practical internship at Chempark, and successful participants can apply for the regular Bayer pre-training programme which, from now on, will reserve a number of places for refugees wishing to receive vocational training. Bayer set up the pre-training programme over 25 years ago to prepare disadvantaged youngsters for later training in a science / technical profession.
Other initiatives include:
• Offering eight days of paid leave to employees volunteering with established aid organisations
• Partnering with the Berlin Senate to establish the “Science4Life” academy in Berlin to encourage science education among refugee children. To this end, Bayer’s foundation is investing more than US$400,000 in the education and future prospects of refugee children over the next five years
On a final note, the OTCs in Action team wishes our readers a healthy, safe and happy New Year!