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A refugee's arrival

When I was an apprentice, I was careful to ensure that I always behaved well, to never let up and to do everything that I could"


Khalid Karimi arrived in Norway eight years ago. Back then he could not speak a word of Norwegian. In August 2017, he completed his apprenticeship as a concrete specialist and began full-time employment at Bilfinger Engineering & Maintenance Nordics AS (former name: Bilfinger Industrial Services Norway) in Porsgrunn.

Karimi originally comes from Afghanistan. From there, he fled with his family first to Iran. As a 15-year-old he fled further, without his family, to Europe. He made his way to Norway because he heard that there were generally good opportunities to get an education and find work. The first thing that he learned there was a new language. After one year, he received a residence permit. And he started a specialist apprenticeship in the civil and construction engineering section of the vocational school in Skogmo. In his second year, Karimi specialized in the area of concrete and collected practical experience at Bilfinger two days a week. He applied for an apprenticeship and was immediately accepted.

“It was not difficult for us to offer Khalid a job”, says his department head, Erik Dotseth. “Over the course of the entire apprenticeship he was extremely committed and did a really good job. Khalid has developed himself into an incredibly competent specialist.” A number of customers asked specifically for Khalid when they were hiring personnel from Bilfinger for various projects. “We do not very often experience that kind of demand for one of our apprentices”, says Dotseth.



Example for others
But it was not only his enthusiasm for the subject, but also his personal attitude that smoothed the way ahead. “When I was an apprentice, I was careful to ensure that I always behaved well, to never let up and to do everything that I could”, says Karimi. “He is an example for others who want to learn a trade. He got the expert knowledge from us but the attitude and assertiveness are things that Khalid brought with him”, emphasizes Dotseth.

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