Refugees’, asylum seekers’ and migrants’ inclusion to the European society is strongly supported by their labour integration and employment. But what experience Italian employers have? What challenges do they face? And how COME IN training can help them? Watch the story of IKENGA, an intercultural association from Palermo, to discover more.

IKENGA – Voice of the world – was established in December 2018 by a group of activists and artists from Biafra, Italy, Bangladesh, Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria e Tunisia. The association promotes human rights, intercultural and intergenerational dialogue among local citizens, asylum seekers and migrants of the first and the second generation through discussions, courses, conferences, projections and other educational initiatives with the goal to encourage and facilitate active participation of all people.


Happy Bar & Grill is a chain of daily restaurants in Bulgaria. The exclusive quality of food and the high standard of service account for the best-in-class brand Happy Bar & Grill. The chain is the largest number of restaurants in Bulgaria located in the heart of larger towns and cities, or along the highways and the main roads. This quality cannot be achieved without the Happy personnel which is trained to follow the high corporate standards. In the recent years there is a stagnation at the Bulgarian labour market which also affected the restaurant chain. That is why the company has opened the professional opportunities to different target groups which are socially or economically disadvantaged, especially for the positions requiring low-skilled labour.

Read more about the success story of Happy Bar & Grill

BG Happy

Convoy World is a manufacturing company situated in a suburb near the Bulgarian capital city Sofia.  In the last couple of years, the company is developing very fast, expanding on new markets in the EU, which increased their personnel needs, in particular in the production facilities. This was one of the drivers for the management to enhance the scope of their potential candidates, giving chance to people from different socially or economically disadvantaged groups, especially for the positions requiring low-skilled labour.

Read more about the success story of Convoy World

BG Convoy World


Al Revès is a social cooperative from Palermo, Italy that runs a tailoring laboratory and vintage shop “Sartoria Sociale” where respect for the environment and the people are the core values and where creativity is without borders. Indeed, the diversity, mixture and union of Italian and African styles results in original designs often made of recycled materials.

Sartoria Sociale, a social tailoring laboratory and shop established by Al Revès in 2012, offers an internship opportunity to young refugees and migrants who have professional or educational background in tailoring and dress-making. From the beginning of the collaboration, interns are accompanied by a senior tailor who assesses their actual competences and teaches them necessary tailoring techniques. During the process of on-boarding, managers and trainers try to mediate cultural and religious differences influencing the work performance and team interactions. Typically, they deal with time management, working habits, different ways of tailoring and language barrier using mainly the strategies of informal mentoring. Sartoria Sociale also employs social workers who strongly supports both labour and social integration of interns and employees with migration background. They also take care of their interns’ professional development and career path. At the completion of an internship, the interns can be offered a permanent job or are provided with individual counselling on their next education or employment possibilities.

Representatives of Al Revès and Sartoria Sociale participated in the COME IN Training attending the piloting sessions dedicated to 3 modules. The Module 1: Refugees’ background and legal aspects was evaluated as very useful and up-to-date. It was found valuable especially because all the recent updates on residence and work permits were presented and discussed along the legal measures of refugees’/migrants’ employment. Going beyond the COME IN training content, Al Revès expressed strong interest in the self-employment possibilities for migrants. Some of the tailors working at Sartoria Sociale have ambition to become freelancers, create and sell their own designs and the Cooperative is supporting the realisation of their dream. To support professional and personal growth of these employees, CESIE developed an additional material explaining and summarizing information on self-employment possibilities including the documents and other pre-requisitions needed which can be used by all social workers, mentors and migrants.

A social worker from Al Revès also took part in the piloting of Module 2: Competence assessment and Module 3: On-the-job training. These modules were appreciated because the cooperative offers also services of individual counselling, career orientation, job shadowing and occupational rehabilitation supported by professional tutors.

The content of the COME IN training materials covers topics highly relevant to the activities of the cooperative, e.g. initial evaluation of competences and evaluation of competence development in non-formal environment including techniques of autobiographical narration and the STAR method which Sartoria Sociale can use during the recruitment and selection process.

Considering the Module 3, this employer can strongly benefit from the training materials dedicated to mentoring and demonstration OJT method. All interns have to go through an initial training focused on occupational orientation, work execution and social inclusion. The OJT techniques and methods presented during the training are therefore highly useful in case of the cooperative. Furthermore, the demonstration is an ideal technique for teaching practical manual skills such as sawing or needlework.

A social worker from Sartoria found very useful all the training materials dealing with cultural differences, intercultural mediation and diversity management. As she shared, they often work with migrants who might have difficulties to interact with local colleagues and are at risk of being excluded from the team. In these cases, social workers need great professional and interpersonal competences to help the interns not only with labour integration, but also with social integration.

Participation of Al Revès in the COME IN project was advantageous also for the other participants and CESIE staff for their rich experience and original ideas they shared during the meeting. Participants had the opportunity to learn from each other, broaden their horizons and make new contacts. Sartoria Sociale as an employer met with local asylum centres supporting refugees and migrants in the research of an occupation. Some of the asylum centres were interested in exploring the opportunities of future collaboration and presenting their clients to Sartoria as possible interns. This can support the future job matching between migrants and employers.

Website of Sartoria Sociale:

Alem is originally from Faryab (north of Afghanistan) and came to Austria in 2014. He speaks 5 languages and had been working as an English teacher and interpreter Afghanistan. In Austria he gathered professional experience by doing an apprenticeship in the field of refugee care and by working again as an interpreter for the Diakonie. In 2017, he started to work for the Austrian railways in the integration sector. Alem also volunteered as an ambassador for the Xchange project for the Austrian Red Cross. What he learned from his previous experience and his participation in the COME IN project is that only by learning the German language and socialising with the people, the integration into the labour market in Austria can be successful.



Ajub comes from Afghanistan and lives in Austria now. In Afghanistan he had been working as a plumber and as a mechanic, in Austria he participated in the voluntary integration year. Due to the very good impression he had left, he obtained a job at the Red Cross in the Austrian province Tyrol. At the beginning, he faced difficulties with learning the German language, especially with the dialect that spoken in Tyrol. What he experiences during his work and his participation in the COME IN project is that for the successful integration in the Austrian labour market, an essential factor is to be always on time and to work very neatly.

The company

CPCengineering is a rapidly progressing company in the field of electromechanical and buildings design and construction, now expanding to photovoltaic systems and net metering services. The company is always looking to recruit new employees who are willing to learn on the job and improve their skills and competences through practically applying their theoretical knowledge.

The challenge

Vangelis, an electrical and mechanical engineer and one of the founders of CPCengineering, participated in the COME IN workshops and shared his story: “For some weeks I was “complaining” to all of my friends and colleagues that I could not find a young engineer to hire for performing some basic designing for us. During an occasional dinner, Marianna, a very close friend of mine, told me that she had a person in mind, but it was a very special case. And then she explained that she had met Amir and his family at a community meeting, their kids started to play together and she started talking with Amir and his wife. It turned out that Amir had arrived from Iraq five months ago, and although he was a mechanical engineer he was working as a cashier to a local mini-market. To make things short, one week later Amir was at my office explaining how he was studying for his Masters in Mainz, but had to go back to Iraq to support his wife who was then expecting their first child. The truth is that I was looking to employ a young graduate who would be more flexible with working schedules and tasks. But when I talked with Amir, I knew he deserved this chance. The only problem? Very basic Greek language skills, let alone engineering terminology.

The solution

“Again, Marianna had the solution! She proposed the COME IN Training. Following the training, especially the part about “easy language”, I could feel the change during my interaction with Amir. At first, I started correlating English words and expressions with Greek ones, trying to simplify them without changing the true meaning. After some days I realized that I did not have to try anymore, because I was actually doing it spontaneously, as part of my routine. Of course, Amir was very receptive and willing to try, to learn, to integrate. I noticed that during breaks he started talking with colleagues using a mixture of English and Greek, a situation that sometimes ended up in laughs, of course in a very positive and comprehensive way by all!

The impact

Vangelis continues on the impact of his effort: “The job was going very well, every day Amir was using more and more Greek, transiting from “easy Greek” to “regular Greek”. His colleagues “established” for him the “One new word per day” challenge, where Amir learned one new word every day, and at the end of the week he had to use them in a sentence. It was actually quite amusing! But for me, I realized what we’ve actually accomplished as a company in August, during our annual weekend to the beach – a two-day trip for all members of the company and their families.  Amir was there with his family, talking and joking with everyone, his kids playing with other kids in the beach, his wife getting introduced to everyone with a big smile. This was all I needed from the beginning, I felt so lucky and complete during these two days. I remember that at the COME IN training it was mentioned that the ulterior objective was social integration of refugees, through interaction at the work place. And I instantly thought “Oh my God, that’ it!”. Now, I cannot imagine how things would have turned out had I decided to keep looking for a young graduate”.