ReDI School of Digital Integration is providing newcomers with valuable digital skills and a strong network of tech leaders, students and alumni to help create new opportunities for all.
The idea of ReDI School was sparked by a large number of IT-talented newcomers in a refugee home in Berlin. The founding team quickly realized that these eager to learn individuals could, if given the right opportunities, successfully contribute to German society by helping to fill the shortfall of skilled workers in the IT sector. Since its inception, the school’s main objective has been to provide interested students with digital skills and a network in the IT sector, enhancing newcomers’ employability. As an added value, projects emphasize the importance of self-confidence and a sense of community, as evident in teaching methods.
Programmes encompass a range of courses and workshops across various branches of software development. Each typically three months in length, they use MOOC content from the main international providers, combined with teaching support provided by a network of over 100 volunteer teachers. A crucial element in ReDI’s model has been its connection with private sector companies, which provides not only financial support but also a pathway to internships and ultimately employment for students. Ideally, ReDI would like to be to be accredited by the German National Employment Agency as an official provider of vocational training. This would open up state subsidies as a sustainable source of financing. But this is proving difficult to accomplish, due to the associated bureaucracy.
Taking into account that many newcomers are facing numerous challenges such as language classes, family commitments, insecurity about their status as well as special psychosocial needs, the coding school has created flexible and adaptable programmes.
For example, a special programme particularly tailored to women caters to childcare needs and family commitments, providing female students with daycare, as well as introducing them to a network of women in tech, opportunities for internships and contacts with potential employers.
ReDI currently has 316 active students, on top of 384 alumni. In a survey of alumni in which 112 people participated, 57% were in a job, while a further 28% were enrolled in higher education.
ReDI School of Digital Integration (originally called “Refugees on Rails”) was founded in February 2016 by a team based in both Berlin and Munich. Today, Berlin is the centre of operations, but courses are offered in cities across Germany.
Case study date: June