Professional Integration HUB: A Unique Internship Program for Ukrainians in Austria – Outcomes and Prospects

13 Ukrainian Specialists Completed Internships at Leading Austrian Institutions and Organizations

6/24/20243 min read

According to recent data, approximately 84,000 Ukrainians, displaced due to the russian aggression against Ukraine, are currently residing in Austria. Among them are a significant number of highly qualified professionals seeking to realize their potential in a new professional environment, facing numerous challenges along the way.

The Professional Integration HUB program was established in 2023 to facilitate the integration of Ukrainian professionals into the European professional environment. The experience gained through this program will also significantly contribute to the rebuilding of Ukraine and its integration into the EU. The project was initiated by ERSTE Foundation and implemented by the European Centre for Freedom and Independence.

«Our program goes beyond supporting the professional development of exceptional Ukrainian experts «here and now». The primary objective is to equip them with practical experience crucial for Ukraine's post-war reconstruction», commented Ms. Yana Barinova, ERSTE Foundation’s Project Manager on European Policies and Ukrainian Affairs.

From March 4 to May 31, 13 participants in the program completed internships at Austrian institutions and organizations, in positions corresponding to their qualifications. Ten organizations from Vienna and Salzburg participated in the program, each providing the interns with a full-fledged workplace and mentor support. Additionally, participants in the Professional Integration HUB received a monthly stipend of 1.200,00 euros.

«For me, the value of the Professional Integration HUB program lies in its focus on my further development, taking into account my experience and needs. The program provides an opportunity to expand my network, improve professional skills, and gain valuable experience working in leading institutions. This allows me to grow as a professional and influence the future of Ukraine», shared Ms. Kateryna Tymoshenko, a participant who had an internship at Caritas Austria.

In addition to the internships, the program included other beneficial activities for the participants. Notably, a month before the internships began, an intensive German language course was organized with the support of the Austrian Integration Fund, which significantly eased the adaptation of the Ukrainian specialists to their new environment. Other activities included educational visits, joint meetings, photo sessions, printed and video interviews, and more. The program concluded with a conference attended by representatives of the hosting organizations and institutions, where participants presented the outcomes of their internships, emphasizing the experiences crucial for Ukraine's future reconstruction.

The Professional Integration HUB is an initiative that has proven beneficial for both Ukrainian professionals and Austrian institutions and organizations, whose representatives noted the high qualifications and expertise of the program participants.

«I think it's really important for experts and colleagues from Ukraine to familiarize themselves with institutions, their structures, and workflows, providing a perfect opportunity to understand how these institutions operate. For us, it is also a wonderful opportunity to incorporate their expertise into our context and projects. In this sense, I believe the Professional Integration HUB is a great initiative, fostering the position of people who had to flee because of the war and are trying to establish themselves in a new environment», commented Ms. Luisa Ziaja, Chief Curator at the Belvedere Museum.

As a result of the internships, four participants received offers from the institutions and organizations where they interned, including the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, the Civil Service, and Sports of Austria, Caritas Austria, ERSTE Foundation, and the viennacontemporary art association. This fact is an important indicator of the program's success and once again confirms the mutual benefit of participation for both Ukraine and Austria.

Recognizing the program's relevance for both Ukraine and Austria, the organizers have initiated the second round of the Professional Integration HUB and will soon announce the details of the new call.

For detailed information about the Professional Integration HUB program, please visit