Experiential Learning Program Launches for Refugees in Germany

The EdTech non-profit, Kiron, has joined forces with global financial services provider, Deutsche Börse, and VC-backed EdTech startup, Virtual Internships, to launch an ambitious hybrid learning and mentoring program for refugees and people with a migrant background in Germany. 

The program, MERGE (Mentoring Exchange for Refugee Growth and Empowerment) launched in February 2023 after a successful pilot in 2022. It allows participants to take part in an intensive eight-week learning program with expert professionals from Deutsche Börse, individualized mentoring support, and access to the Virtual Internships program. This includes one-on-one coaching on career pathways, access to an online employability upskilling curriculum, and tailored individual support to access employment.

MERGE is designed for all Kiron learners in Germany who have either an interest in beginning a new career in Finance and Information Technology or those who have some experience in the field and want to boost their skills and prepare to enter the workforce in Germany. Deutsche Börse is prioritizing candidates who have been less able to access quality work experience previously. 

“Kiron acknowledges the difficulties our learners face when it comes to finding a job in their new home country – from learning a new language to establishing new contacts,” says Elisa Pellegrino, Mentor Program Manager at Kiron. “This program with Deutsche Börse and Virtual Internships is designed to guide and equip them to overcome these challenges and get back to the job market.”

“At Deutsche Börse, we are one global team and put great emphasis on personal and professional development. Partnering with Kiron complements our efforts to develop new and diverse talent, and we are proud to be able to share what we know best and, at the same time, gain new perspectives from the Kiron students.”


Read More: Refugee and previous program alum, Eihab, shares his Virtual Internships experience – Expanding Horizons Beyond Expectations

Learners who complete the course will improve their networking, communication, and presentation skills and boost their employability, ready for their transition to the working world. Not only will they gain industry knowledge from expert presentations and mentoring at Deutsche Börse, but participants will also gain access to new professional networks and learn essential business culture skills. The simultaneous one-on-one mentoring offers students support in putting their newfound skills into practice, searching for relevant jobs, creating a CV, and practicing interview techniques. 

“This partnership brings industry exposure and world-class coaching and mentoring to assist those furthest from the workforce. We are delighted to see this program move on from the pilot stage and begin to impact larger numbers of those with refugee and migrant backgrounds.”


“During this internship, I just noticed that there is also a huge information gap. They helped me with some practical things, just like how to present myself, which skills are relevant right now, which skills are not [because they] used to be 10 years before now.” – Sefa, Kiron x VI Alum

Since 2015, Kiron has offered free online learning opportunities to refugees and underserved communities. Kiron’s online learning platform aims to ensure students receive free access to high-quality education for academic, professional and personal growth.

Virtual Internships is the only platform that guarantees underserved audiences a transformative work experience in their chosen industry and region. Every person on the platform, regardless of their background, location or economic status, has access to invaluable work experience through remote internships with companies worldwide, at scale, with customizable matching, and speedy execution.

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Notes to Editors:

  • Germany is currently the largest financial market in the EU and makes up 25 percent of the EU-27 GDP
  • 1 in 4 people in Germany come from a migrant background
  • Technology is quickly reshaping the German financial industry evidenced by a 63% cumulative growth in Fintech equity transactions between 2018 and 2020

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