Today, the kick-off of the “Experiencing Europe” initiative, launched by technology company Continental and strategic consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, took place at BMW Welt in Munich.
The initiative supports young jobseekers with international internships in EU countries with the aim of making them passionate about a united Europe. The goal of the initiators is to involve more companies in “Experiencing Europe.” The pilot for the initiative was launched at Continental in June 2017. Since then, under the name “We l.o.v.e. Europe,” more than 23 young people have already completed two fourteen-day internships at a number of the technology company’s European locations. One of the interns is now among the new trainees at Continental. “We want to strengthen the European mindset and, at the same time, provide young people who have fewer professional opportunities with new prospects,” explained Dr. Ariane Reinhart, Executive Board member for Human Relations at Continental. “Grades don’t necessarily reveal anything about employees’ potential – what matters are each individual’s personal skills, abilities and motivation to learn. We call this ‘best fit,’” said Reinhart.
Under the umbrella of “Experiencing Europe,” the plan is for more German companies to now take part in order to enable more young people to access Europe. At the kick-off in Munich, the program was introduced with representatives from several major companies such as Allianz, BMW, DHL, Linde, Telekom and Schaeffler.
According to Finja Carolin Kütz, head of Germany/Austria at strategic consultancy firm Oliver Wyman and co-initiator of “Experiencing Europe,” a lot of other success stories should follow: “We want to roll out the initiative across a broad area and convince other companies to take part in ‘Experiencing Europe.’ The program offers added value not only for young people, but also for the participating companies and European integration.”
Getting young adults on board
Young adults often have difficulty in gaining a foothold in professional life – for example, if they grow up in households in which the parents are unemployed. The Federal Employment Agency supports the initiative by being responsible for pre-selecting participants on behalf of employers. Detlef Scheele, chairman of the Executive Board at the Federal Employment Agency, explains that “young jobseekers often have gaps in their CVs and find it difficult to get into the job market. Practical experience abroad not only opens up new doors for them, but also gives them completely new confidence.”
Together for the future of Europe
The initiators want to motivate more companies to join “Experiencing Europe” and are agreed that “together, we can make a major contribution to European integration with our initiative and for this reason, we’re looking forward to joining forces. Today’s event is an important step toward this.” If it works, more interns will soon be sent to other EU countries and will come back with an attractive entry in their CVs and fresh ideas.
About “Experiencing Europe”
As part of the initiative launched by Continental and Oliver Wyman, participating companies offer young adults who are aged 18 to 25 and have few professional prospects short internships at various locations elsewhere in Europe. The participants will visit two countries in four weeks, completing a two-week internship in each. Local employees will act as host families. In addition, at each location, there will also be a buddy close to the participant’s own age to provide free-time activities. This allows the interns make lots of new s and obtain valuable insights into the respective country.