In September 2016, I began an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic at MANN+HUMMEL in Ludwigsburg. While I may not have been here for that long, I can honestly say that this is my dream job!

I always intended to graduate from secondary school and pursue a career, but this was easier said than done in my home country. I come from Hama, the fourth biggest city in western Syria. Along with Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, it is another centre of the uprising. I worked with my father there and earned money as a trader.

Almost every day now I see reports about the situation in my home country and it is impossible to shut your eyes to it, especially if you have lived there. The situation got worse with each passing year and so I decided to leave the country. After giving it a lot of thought and spending one year making detailed plans, I set off for Europe. I heard that there are good opportunities for work in Germany if you make an effort and are dedicated, and this was one of the reasons why I decided to come here. I always had my goal of furthering my education in mind.

The long journey to my dream job

A carefully planned journey

Eleven other people set out with me. They trusted me, and so I took on the responsibility for our small group of travellers. We travelled in almost every way imaginable – on foot, by bus and by boat. At various points in our journey, we spent a few days in the same place to discover exciting cities and take the opportunity to learn new things. When we arrived in Munich on 20 October 2015, we had been on the road for just under a month. From there we went to the reception camp for asylum seekers in Heidelberg. Once I had been registered with the relevant district administration office [Landratsamt] and undergone a health examination, I was sent to Sachsenheim one month later. I was very pleased about this as I had to share my room in Heidelberg with up to eight other refugees. My research meant that I was well prepared. I had my passport and an official visa with me, which meant that as a native Syrian I had no problem obtaining a residence permit. I started planning my future. After three months, I received my work permit from the district administration office and could start to turn my plans for my future into a reality.

The long journey to my dream job

During the first three months, I attended a course to familiarise myself with German customs and the German language. We talked about laws, working life and various procedures. I gradually got used to life in Germany. I learnt the language quickly and, with the help of members of my group for asylum seekers, I prepared my first applications for an apprenticeship. The effort was all worthwhile – today I enjoy the day-to-day challenges at MANN+HUMMEL and can demonstrate my skills in everyday work situations. It is true that the language is sometimes still a challenge for me, but my colleagues, friends and trainers are very nice and patient with me. The fact that I had an apprenticeship with a German company meant that my residence permit was extended to three years. This is the gateway to an exciting future for me and I can’t wait to see what it will bring.