Make it in Hamburg

Integration of foreign skilled professionals into Hamburg’s labour market


How do I find a job in Hamburg? Which companies have English as their company language? And which documents are needed to submit a complete job application? Everyone who comes from abroad and would like to gain a professional foothold in Germany is often faced with these and similar questions. The State Office Hamburg of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH provides answers. With funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, GIZ has offered the “Make it in Hamburg!” programme since 2014. Its purpose: promoting the professional integration of skilled workers from abroad. In so doing, it has been making an important contribution in satisfying the Hanseatic city’s need for professionals. As the performance area of the Hamburg Welcome Center, “Make it in Hamburg!” complements the service for new residents from abroad.


Hamburg is an attractive workplace and residential location for many people from abroad. In addition to this, a large number of refugees have also come to the city in the past years. However, more often than not, the first steps that must be taken to enter the German labour market require quite some prior knowledge and are anything but simple. At the same time, a large number of companies are urgently seeking well-trained personnel. With “Make it in Hamburg!” GIZ brings together both sides. It is a mutual project of the GIZ Federal Office in Hamburg and the further education provider “Arbeit und Leben e.V.”, and it is financed with funds from the ESF and the City of Hamburg.


“Make it in Hamburg!” supports and accompanies different target groups with their integration into Hamburg’s job market. In this regard, people accompanying their partners who are entering the country are shown possibilities as to how they can get a foothold in their respective field of work, or how they can educate themselves further. Foreign students and graduates of the Hamburg Universities are supported by the GIZ when it comes to planning their career or with the search for matching internships. Furthermore, themes such as job applications and the Hamburg business landscape are also at the centre of focus. 


The participants of “Make it in Hamburg!” benefit from a combined offer that consists of personal, longer-termed consultation and accompaniment, as well as the supplementing possibilities of acquiring qualification skills, e.g. in the form of multi-lingual job interview training. The support provided by “Make it in Hamburg!” ensues in the form of individual coaching and qualification measures in small groups, which also facilitates the establishment of networks. Apart from support when it comes to looking for a job and with the organisation of contacts to Hamburg-based employers, “Make it in Hamburg!” also provides information revolving around questions such as integration during the initial period in Hamburg.

Thanks to the additional performance areas in the Hamburg Welcome Center, new Hamburg citizens from abroad as well as people who have already been living in Hamburg for a longer period are provided with a comprehensive service offer in the form of a so-called one-stop shop. This covers everything from consultation to the recognition of foreign degrees, the issuing of residence permits and right up to information on bilingual day care facilities for children or pension insurance. Starting out a new life for new citizens in Hamburg should be simplified to the greatest possible extent and with the topics of job searches and the labour market “Make it in Hamburg!” covers an important element that is needed to achieve this. In this regard, a positive and comprehensive welcoming culture is indispensable so that the urgently required skilled workforce members can develop a long-term bond with Hamburg. Thus it is a matter of course that “Make it in Hamburg!” offers its services in German, English and, in part also, in Spanish.


The innovative potential of the project has grown from the close cooperation of numerous Hamburg-based actors, all of whom are focussed on the integration of skilled workers. The Hamburg Welcome Center cooperates closely with both municipal institutions as well as non-municipal sponsors such as GIZ. By means of this, different competences and experiences are bundled and becoming acquainted with the new surroundings is simplified for the foreign target group. What is more “Make it in Hamburg!” is a close-knit network where chambers of commerce and trade, counselling centres, universities and state authorities are all integrated.

Attention is also to be drawn to the fact that “Make it in Hamburg!” makes use of the workforce potential found in the area. There is no targeted recruiting of certain occupational groups from abroad; much rather, by means of the targeted addressing of the intended audience in Hamburg, competences become visible that can be used straight away. Especially owing to the increased influx of refugees, this approach is of key significance.


The effect of “Make it in Hamburg!” can be seen in very practical ways. Of the about 500 persons who were accompanied in the project until the end of 2015, about 150 have already succeeded at entering the labour market, for instance Ms K. from Greece, who found her apprenticeship as a hotel specialist through “Make it in Hamburg!” and urgently requested the team to “Please carry on with this work!”

Further Information

Video: Make it in Hamburg!

photo credits - all photos:  ©Tim Hoppe

Published: 19/05/2016



Related Good Practices

Related events