Supermarket-jobs are excellent for integration

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Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt returned to her old workplace to look at how Bilka work to integrate immigrants into the labor market.
”It’s here we learn Danish for real”, 23 year old Evin Kara told her.

Photo: Dansk Supermarked/ Andreas Szlavik

Photo: Dansk Supermarked/ Andreas Szlavik

During a visit to the grocery store Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt followed up on her New Year’s speech where she said more people with a different ethnic background than Danish had to be integrated at workplaces across the country.
Bilka got to serve as an example of a chain that has taken social responsibility and worked hard to ensure even more immigrants get a foothold in society through a job in the chain.

During her visit the prime minister also stated that she had been in the grocery store to learn and to visit a store and a chain which has worked intensively with integration.
”Here in the grocery store Ishoej, 33% of employees have a different ethnic background. So, one can not help being impressed, and I think it is very positive that the grocery store can employ as many with an ethnic background, and at the same time make it look easy,” said Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

As a young student the Prime Minister worked at Bilka Ishøj, so it was a well-known shop floor although much has happened with the integration over the past 20 years.
”I also had colleagues with different ethnic background when I worked here. But not to the same extent as today

23 year old Evin Kara spoke among others with the Prime Minister on how it is to be part of such a diverse workplace and why she does not feel that there be two sets of herself and other employees.
”Not every company can do what, Dansk Supermarked is doing. But more could choose to do so. We have colleagues who can barely speak Danish, but it is here you learn it. Some say that it is in a supermarket people learn Danish, and it’s true. Here you learn in reality, not only in the classroom,” said Evin Kara.

Bilka Director Mark Nielsen told during the visit Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Bilka three-pronged strategy for diversity, focusing partly on integration, partly maladjusted young people and partly sheltered workshops for employees with special conditions
”It requires commitment from the company. It has to reflect the surrounding community. It also requires an investment from the start. And from the employees it also requires will. But it is our belief that it is all worth it – for all parties, said Mark Nielsen.