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”.