EQUAL – Development Partnership Prointegration

Professional integration of immigrants through intercultural mainstreaming

Current situation and needs

Berlin has a particularly high proportion of people with a migration background and this proportion is constantly increasing. Their vocational integration, however, does not correspond with this increase, despite numerous efforts by policy changes. How could integration be successful? This was the question the project “ProIntegration“ was addressing, in the form of a development partnership.

Intercultural mainstreaming as a method shows how the appropriateness of offers can be increased by coordinating concepts of advocates, and how barriers to integration can be reduced. In this way it is possible to gain well-qualified multicultural professionals for Berlin, an international business location.

A further objective of the project was to achieve a labour market related added value for the immigrants. This consisted in the application of required additional qualifications and job placements in the development of new employment opportunities and reducing the skills gap through tailor-made continuing qualification.

BGZ took over the project management and coordination of the development partnership. There were 8 other sub-projects in Berlin and a transnational project:

This partnership included all opportunities of vocational integration, from initial training to entrepreneurship. The range of partners varied from immigrants and their self-help organisations, companies in which they are working, the institutions which train and qualify, to the political decision-making level, which sets the framework for integration.

Objectives and activities

Objective of the project was to improve the vocational integration of immigrants in Berlin by intercultural mainstreaming. The starting point was the idea that there was a lack of adequate integration programmes. This is caused by the fact that the different levels, which are involved in the vocational integration of immigrants in Berlin, do not follow an integrated intercultural approach, but rather act beside each other.

Sub-project 1: Scientific supervision

ProIntegration has an innovative concept. The scientific supervision helped the operational sub-projects to integrate intercultural competence, EQUAL- horizontal objectives and process- and goal-oriented innovations into the project.

Executing organisation: SÖSTRA

Sub-project 2: Intercultural training

The aim was to increase the intercultural competences of all persons entrusted with the vocational integration of immigrants. These multi-day cross-cultural training seminars were designed for about 250 people from administrations, enterprises and immigrant organisations.

Executing organisation: Borough administration Berlin-Lichtenberg

Sub-project 3: Matching for repatriates and immigrants from Eastern Europe

The sub-project tapped into skills of immigrants from Eastern Europe for the Berlin labour market, regardless of the formal recognition of their qualifications. Well qualified repatriates were put in placements effectively, backed by one-year trainee partnerships, continuing training and coaching in Berlin companies with business relations in Eastern Europe.

Executing organisation: Seminarzentrum Göttingen

Sub-project: 4: Efa - Business start-up for academics with migration background

Academics with a migration background are still under-represented in business start-ups. Customized offers for highly skilled female entrepreneurs helped to open up their skills for the Berlin economy.

Executing organisation: ISI – Initiative independent migrants e.V.

Sub-project 5: Development of intercultural competence in SMEs

The aim was to develop intercultural skills of SMEs and to strengthen their willingness to employ immigrants. The sub-project therefore elaborated analysis and strategies. In the accompanying coaching intercultural potentials and competencies of immigrants were elaborated directly for enterprise development and success.

Executing organisation: Seminarzentrum Göttingen

Sub-project 6: Training "Integration companions"

Multipliers received a qualification to become “Integration companions” via intensive in-service seminars. Content was, among other things, intercultural competence in consulting work and best practices of integration. The goal was to anchor intercultural mainstreaming in the labour market integration sustainable.

Executing organisation VIA e.V. – Association for international and cultural exchange

Sub-project 7: Qualification of asylum seekers

“Novi Vidici” – “New Perspectives” – Integration of asylum seekers, particularly Sinti and Roma, was the issue of this project. The aim was to facilitate the access of this target group to the labour market in Germany as well as in the country of origin of the participants – by practical low-threshold-based qualifications in the fields of wood, metal, electronics, textile and maintaining.

Executing organisation: Southeastern Europe Culture e.V.

Sub-project 8: DigiTales - Diversity in Media

DigiTales is the transnational project of the development partnership “ProIntegration”. Short films were shot on immigrant-related issues. Short features and “oral stories” about immigrants sensitised for the life of immigrants in Berlin and brought the topic intercultural mainstreaming visibly to the public. (see additional project description).

Executing organisation: BGZ Berlin International Cooperation Agency

Results and valorisation

The project has developed and tested the method of intercultural mainstreaming as an integrated action approach, used it in all sub-projects, brought it to life as a joint experience and been made available to and is being used in Berlin’s politics and economy.
The distribution of this method to the public, particularly by addressing the stakeholders involved in the vocational integration of immigrants, was successfully launched.

 „The reduction of unemployment among immigrants living in Berlin still requires special effort and is an integral part of the Berlin labour market policy. The Senate Department for Economics, Labour and Women’s Issues has accepted the patronage for ProIntegration as this project offers an innovative impulse for improved integration of immigrants in Berlin.“

Susanne Ahlers, former Permanent Secretary for Labour and Women’s Issues and patron of ProIntegration


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Implemented in:



2005 – 2007

Berlin partners:

Borough administration Lichtenberg, Söstra GmbH, ISI e.V., VIA e.V., Seminarzentrum Göttingen, Südost Europa Kultur e.V., Senate Department for Economics, Labour and Women’s Issues


Dr. Hilde Hansen
+49 (30)809941-11

Partner of the transnational project „DigiTales“:

Inclusion Through Media (GB) Kiezen voor je Leven (NL), Mundo (FI), Zina (NL), Living Together (SL), Commedia.net. (GR)


EU-Community initiative EQUAL, BMWA (Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour)