First ever virtual placement strengthens links with German twin city

Sunderland City Council is delivering its first ever virtual work placement in partnership with German twin city Essen.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 5:00 am

Melanie Thüs, an employer consultant at Essen’s job centre has been welcomed, virtually, by the council’s human resources (HR) department.

During her three-week long placement Melanie is working alongside the HR team reviewing and drafting policies on the right to work, as well as supporting trans, non-binary, transitioning and menopausal employees.

She will help with research on promoting apprenticeships to young people, and how businesses can connect with apprentices in the area.

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Melanie Thüs is on a three-week virtual placement from Essen in Germany to Sunderland City Council's HR department.

The placement is part of the Sunderland’s international work and its twinning partnership with Essen. The cities were twinned in 1949, making it the longest-standing partnership that either city is involved in.

Melanie, who is studying a master’s degree in business administration, said: “I’m really enjoying the placement and it’s nice to use the English language again.

“I would definitely recommend a virtual placement to my colleagues, but I hope I can come to visit Sunderland next year and get to know Sunderland City Council colleagues in person.

“I think it underlines the continued British-German friendship that I have been given the opportunity to do this internship, and that colleagues have made it possible for me. I’m very thankful for it.”

Melanie Thüs is on a three-week virtual placement from Essen in Germany to Sunderland City Council's HR department.

The advisor to Essen’s Lord Mayor on international affairs said: “We would like to thank our colleagues from Sunderland City Council and look forward to future exchanges, hopefully in-person again before too long.”

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re thrilled to have Melanie join us virtually, and we’re keen to continue developing remote opportunities as travel restrictions are ongoing.

“Sunderland is proud of its partnership with Essen, and we look forward to continuing to raise awareness of the benefits of a diverse workforce, sharing best practice and experience, as well as strengthening international opportunities in educational and cultural activities.

“This is one of many activities we have delivered online during the last year and a half and we are pleased to be able to continue some of our joint work, even during these challenging times."

The twinning of the cities in 1949 promoted peace and stability and helped break down cultural barriers after World War Two. Friendships have been developed, projects delivered, exchanges undertaken and the partnership still continues.

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