Discover your dream job in the neighbouring country

Young people from Germany and Poland benefit from work experience in the neighbouring country, but so do companies.

Handling tractors and animals in an agricultural engineering internship.
Handling tractors and animals in an agricultural engineering internship. Deutsch-Polnisches-Jugendwerk

Accompanying a doctor on morning rounds in a hospital, processing wooden workpieces in a carpenter's shop, learning how to use sourdough at a bakery, simultaneously acquiring language skills and making contacts with people and companies in the neighbouring country: the German-Polish Youth Organization (Deutsch-Polnische Jugendwerk / DPJW) has already helped many young people find cross-border work placements.

It will now also benefit pupils from primary, secondary and middle schools who otherwise rarely have the opportunity to exchange experience across borders. The career orientation project Together We Get Further. Now in Our Careers! is designed for them.

In two phases, participants are encouraged to break down inhibitions, discover their skills and gain initial experience in their desired occupation.

In the 2019/2010 school year, 20 young people from Poland and Germany each will complete a 30-day internship in the neighbouring country. Eligible are young people between the ages of 15 and 26 hailing from the German-Polish border region, that is, from the federal states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg and Saxony or the voivodships Zachodnio-Pomorskie, Lubuskie, Dolnośląskie and Wielkopolskie. The German-Polish Youth Organization prepares the participants for the internship, helps to find a suitable company, and finances the stay.

Starting the internship well prepared

The project is now entering its first phase: in cooperation with schools, educational institutions and institutions for vocational training and youth social work, the DPJW is organizing youth encounters. Young Poles and Germans get to meet each other in workshops, surmount language barriers and test themselves in international teamwork. They visit companies and learn to deal with the world of work.

After the return meeting in the other country, the young people will have gained the necessary self-assurance and curiosity for the second phase: a work placement in Germany or Poland. This can be a general internship to get to know different jobs, or even an internship within a training programme.

Internship at a carpentry workshop: here craftsmanship and a sense for proportion are called for.
Internship at a carpentry workshop: here craftsmanship and a sense for proportion are called for.

Four questions for Aneta Koppernock of the Department for Extracurricular Youth Exchange at the DPJW, which supervises the project:

What opportunities arise for young people in Poland and Germany?
International youth encounters are a valuable building block in the lives of young people. They promote personality development, enhance the ability to work in teams and improve foreign language skills. This has a positive effect on career prospects.

Can the project help strengthen neighbourly relations between Germany and Poland?
An aim of the project is to create a sustainable network of companies and institutions in the German-Polish border region, which will allow young Germans and Poles to gain work experience in the neighbouring country in the future.

How do companies take to the idea and what is the benefit for them?
Some companies are reluctant to respond because they find the supervision of trainees to be costly. We want to show them that it’s an investment in the future. Business people and companies that want to assume social responsibility, increase their attractiveness as an employer and are already thinking of tomorrow's skilled workers are interested in working together with us.

We want to cooperate with companies that are developing interculturally and afford their employees new experiences with the culture and language of our neighbouring country Poland. We are looking for companies that want to push ahead with their internationalization plans and help build a network.

Are there any more examples of German-Polish cooperation in vocational training?
The German-Polish Youth Organization has supported projects with a vocational background for a long time, including vocational internships. Most of them take place in Germany.

The project Together We Get Further. Now in Our Careers! is under the joint patronage of Elke Büdenbender, the wife of the German Federal President, and Agata Kornhauser-Duda, the wife of the Polish President. The project runs until 2020 and is funded by the Foundation for the New Federal States.

More information about the project Together We Get Further. Now in Our Careers!