"Talents for Austria" is our response to the shortage of apprentices and skilled workers. Young migrants learn German, our values and are prepared for and placed in an apprenticeship. Companies can fill vacant positions. Austria gains young people who want to contribute to the system.
Demographic developments cause a shortage of apprentices and skilled workers in many European countries. At the same time, the world is experiencing large migration and refugee movements. Having reached safe countries, solutions need to be found to successfully integrate the new arrivals, in terms of linguistic, cultural and professional integration. In 2015, “Talents for Austria” was founded: a boarding school for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers (UMA) providing primary care, education (language, values), job training + placement and ongoing support. The focus areas of this unique project are linguistic competences (German), basic education (Mathematics, English, Social Studies, Science), knowledge of customs and culture (values), specialist job training (for tourism, construction, local and regional SMEs) and job placement. One colleague (“job integration coach”) provides support for UMA and (future) employers during all steps of the recruitment process and beyond the start of work, should any questions or uncertainties arise. Hence, a triple-win situation is created: young international talents can work, learn and gain a salary in their apprenticeship. Companies can finally fill vacant positions again and Austria gains young people who contribute to the system.


The main activities of the project focus on the provision of all steps of the integration process under one roof:
1. boarding school (7 days a week)
2. German & basic education (5 days a week, 4 lessons per day)
3. specific job training (for apprenticeship in shortage occupations)
4. job placement (with a team member supporting employer and future employee throughout the entire recruitment process)
5. ongoing support (for employer and employee beyond the first day of work)

The project is led and shaped by the close cooperation with the involved public entities as well as the multiprofessional and intercultural team working on it. The entire process is ISO 9001 certified and the education and training services are ISO 29990 certified. “Talents for Austria” is also a certified language school per OESD (Austrian Language Diploma in German) and OEIF (Austrian Integration Funds). Besides German & basic education, the schools also offer the compulsory schooling qualification (“Pflichtschulabschluss”). For the job placement, the schools cooperate with individual local and regional businesses, but also with large enterprises (e.g. of the steel industry) and entire industry sectors (gastronomy).

Our approach of combining all steps of the integration process under one roof, where usually at least three different players are involved, is unique in Austria and in Europe. The project has been distinguished as European Best Practice Model not only for its socio-economic aspect (Top Ten of the 2017 Social Impact Lab of Big Four consultancy & accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers), but also as one of the most innovative and efficient performers of the European public sector (Best Practice Certificate Recipient and Final Four of the 2017 European Public Sector Award Finale).