Our partner: Volkswagen

Christoph Buerglen
2019 06 20

The Project 

Since 2016, the Volkswagen Group and Kiron have been cooperating to support refugees on their pathway to higher education. In an effort to provide Kiron students with professional opportunities while studying or early on in their working careers, Volkswagen has organized a range of workshops on relevant topics such as job market access, integration and women empowerment. With this project, we especially want to promote better access for refugee women with an interest in STEM subjects, to the German higher education and labor market.  


The jointly-developed professional guidance program was developed especially with female refugee students in mind, with the aim to foster exchange between the students and Volkswagen employees. One of the highlights of the program was the kick-off workshop at the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, where participants visited the Volkswagen site, met the VfL women’s soccer team, and took part in an intercultural workshop. In 2018, the second round of the program came to a close, and in total, twenty-eight Kiron students and Volkswagen employees participated. 

"Engaging with an international company’s project allows me to better understand the workforce and labour regulations here in Germany. It also increases my personal career development."
- Kiron student Rania about the VW professional guidance program.

Period: December 2016 – December 2020

Since 2016, Volkswagen Group and Kiron Open Higher Education have been cooperating to support refugees in their pathway to higher education. As part of the collaboration, Volkswagen has initially funded 100 study places for Kiron students. A particular focus of this mutual effort is on the STEM study fields: computer science and mechanical engineering.

In efforts to provide Kiron students with enhanced opportunities prior to and early on in their professional careers, Volkswagen has collaborated on a multitude of endeavors including aiding refugee students through integration workshops.

In continuum, a recent professional guidance program (“Lotsenprogramm”) was piloted with the aim of fostering exchange between refugee students and Volkswagen employees. The majority of Volkswagen guides are recent graduates and doctoral students, enabling information sharing about either the recently finished studies or the starting of a working career in Germany from a familiar young-minded perspective. Furthermore, Volkswagen offered pre-study internships which are obligatory for studying Mechanical Engineer at several German universities.

Volkswagen guides and Kiron students

“Volkswagen supports students not only with 100 study places, particularly focusing on the MINT study field, but moreover enables mentoring and guidance by Volkswagen employees, as well as internship opportunities giving insight and perspective into daily work, becoming familiar with our subject-specific issues. This is how we accompany dedicated prospective academics along their path of professional development.”

Ariane Kilian, Coordinator of Volkswagen Group Refugee Support, Volkswagen Group

“We are happy to be able to encourage and support dedicated young professionals in their journey towards obtaining an academic degree. Due to the high technical qualification requirements in the automotive industry, this path helps lead to high standards of language skills and certified educational qualifications. As such, we progress to strengthen these two components over the long term and continue our commitment to working with refugees in the coming years. I will also be raising this subject during the information exchange discussion with Angela Merkel this evening.”

Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, Management Board, Human Resources & Organization, Volkswagen Group