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Skills for Employment

The Skills for Employment initiative is run by IKEA Bratislava s.r.o. in conjunction with Human Rights League (HRL). It helps refugees gain new skills and work experience, thereby improving their chance of finding a job - whether in the IKEA department store or in other companies in Slovakia. At the same time, participants are supported to integrate into their new host community. The project builds on IKEA's global commitment to support more than 2 500 refugees in 30 IKEA units in 30 countries by the end of 2022.

Source: Skills for Employment 2021

Issue/challenge and goal/assumption

The successful integration of beneficiaries of international protection (BIPs) in Slovakia is substantially determined by their language skills, economic integration and economic stability. At the same time, these are all areas in which they face significant barriers and obstacles. A lack of language skills, economic constraints and / or financial insecurity not only limits the integration process, but also affects quality of life.

IKEA established the Skills for Employment initiative to support BIPs with inclusion into the company according to their skill level. The target for the project in Slovakia is (at least) 19 refugees employed over the period 2021 – 2023. In addition to Slovakia, IKEA is also implementing the initiative in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

The ambition of the Skills for Employment initiative is to support refugees in their economic and social integration, and to promote intra-company cohesion and diversity. The initiative also inspires other employers in Slovakia to hire refugees or people in refugee-like situations, thereby improving social inclusion.

Source: Skills for Employment 2021

How does it work


Assistance and counselling for refugees and persons in refugee-like situations:

  • Language courses (of 60 - 80 hours, according to individual needs and time constraints, or alternatively in the form of consultations on how to improve Slovak language skills)
  • Assistance and career counselling (10 – 20 hours): including preparation for applying for a job, assistance with how to write a CV and a cover letter, and consultations and practice before the job interview.
  • Labour Legislative Workshop: A workshop on labour law in Slovakia. Participants, who are usually unfamiliar with the system in Slovakia, gain an overview of the rights and obligations of employees, employers, an overview of the broader context of social and labour protection, the pension system, the tax system, social entitlements and benefits.
  • IKEA training day is an annual all-day event organized by IKEA. Participants receive wider information and context on IKEA company, its core values, structure, information on available job positions, work teams, information on job interview.

Training for IKEA:

  • Intercultural training for IKEA team leaders and buddies: basic training module on culture diversity and otherness.
  • Intercultural training for IKEA upper managers: developing intercultural competence in a workplace and giving an overview of the refugee and migrant situation in Slovakia
  • IKEA talent week: intercultural training for employees.

Awareness raising and campaign

  • Campaigns and awareness-raising activities are an integral component of the initiative and will take place at the company, client and general public levels.

As far as HRL is concerned, it contributes to the initiative by defining potential programme participants and providing them with the necessary assistance, counselling and training in order to succeed in their job interview. If an applicant is then successful, they will be given standard, permanent (or other if preferred, e.g. part-time as a student) employment and full training by IKEA. Team leaders, buddies and employees also receive intercultural training from HRL.

Source: Skills for Employment 2021


  • During its first year of implementation, programme participants completed over 150 hours of Slovak language courses, a legislative workshop focused on labour laws, and several consultations on the acquisition of job search skills.
  • the IKEA training day: a workshop focused on job interview practice with emphasis on the values of the organisation.
  • 7 people took part in the programme, 5 of whom applied for a job at IKEA (3 women and 2 men), successfully passed the selection process and currently work for the IKEA department store in Bratislava. Participants came from various countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.
  • One of the participants is Younes from Afghanistan:

Source: Skills for Employment 2021


The initiative is evaluated internally, annually, according to set goals and indicators.

Who will benefit?

The initiative has wide range of beneficiaries  including beneficiaries of international protection, persons in refugee like situations, employees, employers, and also wider society.

Source of funding and Resources used

Funding for the initiative comes from the annual operational budget of IKEA Bratislava, s.r.o.



Human Rights League in cooperation with IKEA Bratislava, s.r.o
Tina Krajčovič
Project manager

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