On 13 February 2019 the time had come: the graduates proudly presented their certificates. Tülay Tuncel of the Vienna Business Agency moderated the small academic celebration, which took place in the Zemanek seminar room of the Faculty of Informatics. "Where can you learn programming as well as here," she asked. That is why for the fourth time, twelve young refugees successfully completed a programming course at our faculty. Founded in 2015 by Dean Hannes Werthner to offer young asylum seekers the opportunity to further their education and open up future perspectives, the programming courses of the Welcome.TU.code initiative founded by teachers and students continue to enjoy great popularity. Originally conceived as summer courses for unaccompanied underage refugees, the courses have now become part of the curriculum, led by Reinhard Pichler and Nysret Musliu. "This would not work without you", Dean Werthner expressed his thanks to the two organisers. "We have an excellent level in research and teaching, but we also take our responsibility in society seriously. These courses on integration fit in with our lived reality at the faculty," Werthner continued.
Together for integration
Gabriele Tatzberger from the Start-up Services of the Vienna Business Agency was convinced that one could make a contribution to integration with a joint effort: "It is difficult to gain a foothold in a new city and a new culture, and I wish you all the best for it!" Both the EU-funded CORE project and the Refugees Code organisation with cooperation partner Stefan Steinberger had contributed significantly to the success of the courses.
Digitalisation is the main concern
"You have to be able to celebrate success," added City Councillor Peter Hanke. "I would like to thank the City of Vienna, the Faculty of Informatics and the Vienna Business Agency for taking the initiative for these courses. We are also interested in bringing Vienna forward as a business location," and for this you needed qualified people. "Digitalisation has become our main concern, and I would like to invite everyone to bring humanism into digitalisation, which Professor Werthner stands for."
Nothing is impossible
And what do the participants themselves say? With Sarah T. and Judy A. the spark was ignited. Both want to further qualify in the field of computer science. "I always thought IT was too difficult for me, but the course made it clear to me: Okay, it's hard, but it's not impossible. It is now my dream to study informatics". Judy, who like Sarah comes from Syria, is also planning for the future: "After graduating from high school, I would like to complement my studies of informatics at the University of Applied Sciences."
Mission accomplished, we can only say, and congratulations to all graduates!