May 2, 2016

Finnish Integrify trains asylum seekers to become coders

Finland-based Integrify has launched a software developer programme for asylum seekers to foster integration.
Finland-based Integrify has launched a software developer programme for asylum seekers to foster integration.
Integrify

Finland-based Integrify has launched a software developer programme for asylum seekers to foster integration and to ease Finland’s need for qualified programmers.

Integrify’s programme for asylum seekers teaches programming and connects graduates with technology companies and jobs to foster integration.

The programme was born out of frustration with negative public discourse regarding immigration. Daniel Rahman, CEO of recruiting company Talent Connect and Niklas Lahti, CEO of software development company Nord Software created Integrify to offer a practical solution to the problem.

The primary goal of Integrify is to increase asylum seekers’ chances to find employment by teaching them programming.

The primary goal of Integrify is to increase asylum seekers’ chances to find employment by teaching them programming.

Integrify

The primary goal of Integrify is to increase asylum seekers’ chances to find employment by teaching programming and connecting them with tech jobs, regardless of their Finnish skills.

“We reasoned that among the thousands of people coming to Finland, there must be talented engineers spending their days idling at refugee camps,” says Rahman. “We aim to find them and offer them a chance to use their know-how both for their own benefit and for the benefit of Finland.”

12 Finnish startups have already partnered with the programme, including Nord Software, Affecto, Biddl, Druid, Venuu and Hello Hobby.

Integrify’s pilot has proven successful: Five asylum seekers have been taken part for an eight-week pilot and already three of them have been placed in internships at technology startups.

One of the participants, Nizar Rahme, worked as an architect, an animator and as a Flash games developer in Syria before fleeing persecution to Finland.

”I arrived in Finland from Syria in January of 2016,” says Rahme. “Integrify is already empowering me to create a new life here. I have become a junior developer thanks to the springboard Integrify has provided!”

For Integrify, this is just the start; the team is currently planning a next phase, which is a developer centre with more than 100 participants.

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