Homeless seek to get back on track with engineering giant

Illustrative photo: Kristýna Maková

Around twenty homeless people will get a chance to work in the Siemens engineering company. The firm on Thursday announced its plan to employ the homeless within its new programme Restart@Siemens, which has just got underway. The project is sponsored by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Siemens will also collaborate with a number of charities.

Eduard Palíšek,  photo: archive of Siemens
I spoke to the CEO of Siemens Czech Republic, Eduard Palíšek, and first asked him where he got the idea for the project:

“Actually we feel it is our moral obligation to contribute to the solving of the difficult situation of poverty which is becoming more and more pressing. We believe it will benefit not only those who will participate in the programme but also ourselves, because it will give us opportunity to rescale our personal beliefs.

“The second source of inspiration was my older son, a university student, who is helping the homeless in his free time. It somehow opened my eyes and I thought that if such a young guy can help the homeless, why a company of our size couldn’t do something for the homeless as well?”

What kind of jobs will they be doing?

“Actually it very much depends on their skills, education and knowledge. We are ready to offer jobs from blue-collar-type operators through administrative work and even research and development. We have a full scale of opportunities and it will depend on the competences of the candidates.”

How exactly will you select the candidates for the jobs?

“Of course, we are not professionals in that field and we are very much relying on cooperation with our partners, the Salvation Army, Caritas and Naděje. It will be a standard, three-round process.

“First the candidates will talk to our HR personnel, then to the heads of divisions and factories and I would personally like to talk to all those people as well.”

Will they undergo some kind of training before they get involved in the working process?

Illustrative photo: Kristýna Maková
“First of all we would like to select the homeless who have some competences, who are capable, who went through some education of vocational training, so we expect them to be capable of being integrated into the working process.

“On the other hand those people found themselves in a very difficult personal situation for a certain period of time, so we also believe that it will be important to help them reintegrate into the society.

So we have created a supporting group of volunteers in all locations where these people will be employed. And those employees will help them with solving daily problems.

“Our partners from the charity organisations will also be helping them during the whole one year period for which we will provide them with a fixed contract, to really succeed in the programme.”

You said the unemployed will be given a fixed contract for one year. If they are successful, are you planning to extend this contract and keep them in the company?

“Exactly, that’s our aim. We believe that the help should not be limited only to the campaign. If the people succeed in the programme, if they demonstrate that they are really interested and they are willing to change their lives, there is a chance that they will get an unlimited contract after the one-year period. But it very much depends on the mutual interest of both sides.”