Ursprung – training workshop for young refugees

ORIGIN is a training workshop that aims to give young people and young refugees from Frankfurt a better understanding of trades, to specify training requirements and to acquire their first job-specific knowledge of German. The main focus is on wood and metal processing.

The non-profit initiative by Felix Titzka and Michael Wahl started in November 2013 in the premises of a former supermarket to give young people the opportunity to do handicrafts in order to give them not only fun and interest but also professional perspectives. Ursprung attaches particular importance to repairing or recycling used products and materials. Ursprung has moved into new workshop rooms in Borsigallee since 2015.

ORIGIN Frankfurt enables InteA classes from the Frankfurt Wilhelm Merton School in the second semester for six months each, providing professional orientation in the area of basic manual skills. 

The project offers the students the opportunity to show their talents in language-independent tasks, some of which they are already familiar with from their home countries. As part of InteA, the young people, some of whom have little previous schooling, have only two years to work through their school and language deficits and graduate from secondary school. This is a major challenge and not all students achieve this goal. In particular, the qualified lower secondary school leaving certificate, which requires not only the acquisition of German as a second language but also the learning of English as another, often unfamiliar, foreign language, cannot be achieved in such a short time for many pupils with a refugee background. However, these young people have many talents, which often lie in the technical area. These talents cannot be shown and recognized in regular lessons as part of the InteA timetable.

The URSPRUNG guG project provides a framework in which the students can test their skills and talents regardless of language and create tangible action products with their individual skills. In addition to a high motivational potential, this also provides important guidance for career planning. The students often have prejudices against the German education system because of their own cultural and social experiences in their home countries. They only feel that full-time school education is socially recognized and worth striving for. The positive experiences in the project and the fact that these prejudices are dealt with at school, by explaining and discussing the high esteem in which the dual training system is held, open up new professional perspectives for the young people that are realistic for them and their learning requirements and talents.