Arbeit und Leben is an institution for continuing education in maintenance of the German federation of trade unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund - DGB) and the adult education centers (Volkshochschule - VHS) in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).
This educational partnership is the basis of a unique cooperation which has been successful for the last 60 years. DGB and VHS joined forces locally the first time in 1948 (in the city of Marl) followed by the foundation of more cooperations in many cities of NRW. The state-wide cooperation Arbeit und Leben is based in Duesseldorf, and was founded in 1950 in Recklinghausen. The founding of the cooperation on the federal level (BAK) followed in 1956.
We offer an education that cultivates social competence and has people's participation in society as its goal. We impart knowledge for the work on social tasks, and we impart such knowledge that is necessary for workers' representation to shape the working world and to protect workers' rights.
For local and regional groups, initiatives and institutions we are available as partners in projects of continuing education.
Arbeit und Leben stands for
- a continuing education towards democracy, tolerance and involvement in social affairs,
- a network with local, regional and inter-regional educational activities and cooperation,
- popular educational offerings of more than 40 local cooperatives in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Brief description of the fields of our work
Conferences and workshops about current political affairs
With our conferences on current political affairs we participate in political debates - i.e. about the future of work, or the health care policies - and we help identifying interests and positions. On request we are available to interested partners for consulting, organizing and holding conferences.
Knowledge for workers’ representation
With our courses we teach necessary special and social knowledge for workers' councils in both, the private and public sector. We advise members of workers' councils in issues of corporate re-structuring, and we support them in their effort to solve long-term and everyday problems. Together we analyze what is needed, and plan steps to problem solutions.
Inseparable parts of our educational work are our projects that give impulses again and again. Among those projects we offer innovational and educational projects for different sections of the workforce, for youth, women, senior citizen - often in cooperation with our partners in unions, and in the private and public sector of the corporate world.
Seminar courses for women
With our classes and courses for women we want to advance the emancipation of women in all fields of life and work. We focus on the support of women who want to tap into their potential and knowledge and to use these tools to influence society.
The realization of a gender-democracy requires the participation of women who are politically engaged.
Projects and seminars for youth and young adults
With our projects and courses targeted at youths and young adults we offer help for the transition from school to work life. We facilitate "learning beyond borders" by meetings and exchange programs. With educational preventative measures we want to counteract destructive societal tendencies like violence, discrimination, and xenophobia.
European and international meeting, special exchange programs and seminar courses
In cooperation with our foreign partners we organize seminar courses, meetings and exchange programs in Germany as well as abroad which are often subsidized by national and European aid programs. The international educational programs and meetings give insight into different political fields of the countries on which we focus, i.e. educational, pension and health care systems. Our international programs make it possible for apprentices, professionals and workers with special expertise - i.e. occupational trainers - to extent their inter-cultural and job knowledge through trips to other countries, and to create co-operations.