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Fardin Bayandor: Vocational training for refugees: Barriers to integration

The dissertation project examines the factors that hinder the successful integration of refugees into the German vocational training system.

The dissertation project deals with the integration of refugees into the German vocational education and training (VET) system. It seeks to provide a better understanding of the factors that inhibit a successful integration of refugees into the German VET system. The analysis focuses on the access of refugees to the VET system as well as the preconditions of refugees’ (successful) training. Therefore, this study investigates factors hampering the integration of refugees into the VET system for refugees in Germany.

The main research question of this dissertation is: “What hampers the integration of refugees into the system of vocational training in Germany?” In order to discuss the problematic situation for refugees in Germany more accurately, the analysis will be conducted on three different levels:

  • Individual factors: limited access to social capitals, such as low entry qualification or lack of language skills, could prevent the successful integration of refugees into the system of vocational training. Moreover, the degree of social capital and the individual access to labor market networks is important within the recruitment process.
  • Cultural factors: factors such as cultural differences could affect the interaction between employers and refugees as trainees.
  • Structural factors: factors such as structural conditions of the system and the training market function can also hamper the integration of refugees into the VET system.

For the thesis, qualitative methods are used. Theefore, no particular theory or hypothesis will be tested. However, some sociological and economic theories will be used as the theoretical framework to perceive research problems in detail. For instance, the social capital theory of Pier Bourdieu will be used to analyze individual factors. The new assimilation theory of Née and Alba will be the main theoretical framework in the cultural factors section. The segmented labor market theory will be used to analyze structural problems. Although these mentioned theories are considered as the main theoretical framework, other relevant theories will be used during the research process, if it is required.

The empirical analysis is based on 20 problem centered interviews with refugees in Dusseldorf living in a “Flüchtlings­wohnheim”. Since the interviewed persons are still living in the “Flüchtlingswohnheim” one can assume that they are still at the beginning of the labor market integration process. The interviews are conducted in the mother tongue of the interviewees, which facilitates access and mitigates potential reluctance to take part in the study. Problem-centered interviews consist of four instruments that are a short questionnaire, interviewing guidelines, a postscript, and tape recordings of the interviews, which should be immediately fully transcribed. The questionnaire will be sent to all inhabitants and will gather standardized information, for example, on the country of origin, qualifications, and residence status. Based on this information the interviewees will be selected.

In order to mitigate variation and identify integration problems that really arise from the organization of the training system (and not for example from an unsecured residence permit status), the study will exclusively focus on refugees with a residence permit. The interview guidelines will be structured according to the three identified key elements that affect the integration of refugees into the VET system, which are individual, cultural, and structural factors.

Download detailed presentation of the dissertation project (pdf)

Fardin Bayandor

Born 1982 in Iran. Studied Mechanical Engineering, Tabriz University, Iran; 2010-2013 Master's degree in Sociology, Tabriz University; 2013-2016 PhD student in Sociology Selçuk University, Turkey; since 2018 PhD student in Sociology, University of Paderborn, Germany, dissertation topic: investigating the barriers to refugees' integration into the vocational education system in Germany.