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adidas Group implements first activities as part of the ‘Wir Zusammen’ initiative

The adidas Group has started to implement its initial activities within the ‘Wir Zusammen’ (‘Us Together’) integration initiative, giving the first young refugees the opportunity to gain insights into the company. As part of a two-year integration course, ten young people from four different countries of origin did a four-week student internship with the adidas Group. In addition to language tuition, the company also offered the young people workshops on intercultural communication, job application training and sports courses. One very special highlight was their meeting with musician Pharrell Williams who took time out exclusively for the small group during his visit to Herzogenaurach. 

We are convinced that through sport we have the power to change lives. Our goal is to show these young people development possibilities and thus support them in shaping their future.

Peter Jeckel, Vice President HR

Every refugee was assigned an apprentice or a student doing a dual studies programme as a mentor. “I think it’s fantastic that we’re giving talented young people a chance to get a taste of working life with the adidas Group. I’m not only a mentor, I’m also a friend,” commented Marcus Johnson, a first-year apprentice. 

As any income is offset against other benefits the refugees receive, the adidas Group is not paying refugee interns any remuneration but instead is paying into a fund to be used for new language and integration courses.

A new position has been created for the coordination and implementation of the projects and employment integration activities. Helen O’Meara, who has been with the company since 2013, has taken on this new job. She fled from Eritrea 30 years ago, just thre years old, and knows what it feels like to come to a foreign country with no knowledge of the language and the culture. “I am eager to help people like we were helped all those years ago. Because you can‘t make it without help,” said Helen O’Meara. 

For the adidas Group, social engagement and support for those in need are key components of its corporate culture. For many years now, the adidas Group has been working closely with a number of different organisations, which it supports with both monetary and in-kind donations. Both last year and this year, this included € 500,000 alone for refugee aid in Germany. In addition, the adidas Group donated more than 250,000 products for refugee aid worldwide, largely in close cooperation with ‘Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen’ (‘Wings of Help’). 

The adidas Group follows a holistic concept based on three pillars: humanitarian help, enable & support and employment integration. This year’s activities are focused on employment integration and training of refugees. All in all, the adidas Group will offer 30 refugees the opportunity to do an internship in 2016. In addition, the adidas Group grants every employee participating in voluntary work with refugees three days’ leave. This enables the adidas Group, together with the adidas Fund and external partners, to help a large number of refugees, giving them a change from their everyday life through sports activities and language tuition and offering them a positive external outlook.