“The working world has a similar structure to in Ukraine”
The Edewecht cheese dairy has taken on five refugees from Ukraine. The company is making a humanitarian contribution to integration while also benefitting from new employees.
Artem Ivanov

“After I fled Ukraine, I trained at DMK as an Operator Packing. Actually, I am a trained cook, which is very di­erent to my current position. At DMK, my work involves quality and hygiene awareness, having responsibility and being reliable. The machine operator has to implement the orders together with the assigned employees. That means you need to be able to manage the machine and delegate tasks. You must be prepared for unforeseeable stoppages and be able to respond with measures, working together with your superiors. Right from the rst few weeks, I was given detailed instructions on the work involved, whether it was with the placer, who unpacks the 15-kilo blocks of cheese and places them on the production belts, or the multi-employee, who corrects the cut portions. The work is fun and I would like to stay here in Germany in the future. I now have lots of friends though it was not easy for me at rst, settling in at work and in society. That was mainly due to my language difficulties but I now have a language mentor at DMK, he helps me ask my colleagues questions and also learn new words and phrases in German. I now feel more settled here, but I miss being with my friends and family in Ukraine.”

Artur Oleinykov

“My wife Valeriia and I fled Mariupol together. I used to work as an electrician in a factory. Here in Germany, I am employed in packaging in Edewecht. Later I can always retrain, there are lots of opportunities at DMK. I would very much like to stay in Germany forever. My family and I have settled in well and made friends. The German courses at DMK help me a lot to make progress, both professionally and personally. Things I particularly like about my job include the well-timed work processes, the friendly team and my competent boss. All that really helps me integrate well. Living in Germany feels good. The social conditions are stable, the pay is good and we feel welcome here. And all that is in the context of a broad labor market and lots of opportunities for further training.”

Oleh Kovalchuk

“My most recent job was as a concrete and reinforced concrete builder in Lviv. I am a trained high-voltage and overhead line installer. At DMK, I am training to become a plant operator in the butter plant. The team works well and the people all pull together. They accepted me right away. I learn something new every day and I am also learning German along the way. I would stay in Germany if possible. I didn’t feel that way at rst, because everything was new and unfamiliar, the people and the culture and the language were all so di­erent. But now I feel good, and even at the plant, it feels like I’ve been working here forever. I am grateful to the many people who gave me such a warm and open w welcome after my escape: for their help, their support, their big hearts. If I had one small wish, it would be for a bit less bureaucracy in Germany. I have received more letters since I came here than in my whole life before then. But I guess even that will probably feel normal at some point. What I really miss are my parents, and I talk with them on the phone every day. I still don’t know when I will see them again though.”

Valeriia Oleinykova

“I am actually a nurse, but after fleeing Mariupol, I was happy to have found work in Germany so quickly and with my not-so-perfect language skills. I am currently being trained as a dairy technologist at the Edewecht plant. My husband Artur also works at DMK, in packaging, so we can make ends meet with our two children. Each day I sit at computers that steer the work processes in the hall. We were given language coaches to help us get used to the occasionally very complicated, highly technical digital work processes. DMK looked for experienced employees in all the departments who can communicate in Russian or Ukrainian. That works very well and everyone is really committed. Another advantage is that the working world in Germany has a similar structure to in Ukraine. That makes it easier to integrate into most workplaces.”

Sergej Kravchenko

“In Ukraine I was an electrician, today I work at DMK in the packaging department, I also do support work and am training to become a machine operator. I have made friends and settled in well. It is a relief that I am learning German at a DMK language course. I like my colleagues’ attitudes and their friendliness and I am enjoying living here with my wife and three children. But the feeling of homesickness does not go away so quickly and if it is ever possible, we will probably move back home.”