Refugees@Work – swarm intelligence for more integration

The “Refugees@Work: Together for Solutions” hackathon took place in Geneva at the beginning of June to better meet the challenges of integrating refugees into the job market. Women and men from different countries met with representatives of companies, public institutions and associations. Their aim: to find new solutions and innovative approaches for the vocational integration of refugees. Among them was our colleague Ivan, Marketing Specialist Markets and Business Development at EY in Geneva. In this interview, he explains what fascinated him about the event.

Ivan, who’s the driving force behind the Refugees@Work hackathon?

EY is part of the Alliance for Youth (All4YOUth), in which several companies have joined forces to improve young people’s chances in the labour market. Together with the Canton of Geneva and the University of Geneva, this alliance has launched the “Refugees@Work: Together for Solutions” hackathon.

What was the aim of the hackathon?

The event was about understanding why it can be difficult to place refugees on the local labour market. And about finding ways to help young people – as well as adults – find jobs. A hackathon is an innovative method that uses swarm intelligence. People from very different national, cultural and professional backgrounds come together to tackle an issue. The aim is to form different groups and develop simple and practical solutions for a clearly defined problem.

How did you experience the hackathon?

The atmosphere was great! Everyone was extremely motivated and committed to team up and find good solutions. In the run-up to the hackathon, I had attended a workshop for company representatives, which prepared us for the topic. They all put their heart and soul into it.

What was your personal highlight?

I was fascinated by how such a heterogeneous group of refugees, club members and company representatives, experts and citizens can pull together and pursue a clear goal: to make the world a better place and integration easier for refugees. I was very happy to be part of such a fulfilling venture.

What did you get out of this event?

As an EY employee, I am delighted that my employer is supporting such initiatives. I hope that, in the future, we will continue to expand our commitment in terms of corporate social responsibility. At the “Refugees@Work” hackathon I got involved in a project group, and in September I will present our solution to a jury. Hopefully, theory will then be put into practice. In itself, this is only a small action. But if each of us tries to do something good, then we can really live up to our mission: “building a better working world”.

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