Meet Anne Kjaer Bathel Founder of ReDI School
Which team and when did you graduate?
Team 10 and I graduated in 2006.
What have you been working on since you graduated as a Kaospilot?
Immediately after I graduated the Enterprising Leadership Program, I worked 3 years for Stoic, a consultancy company in Copenhagen where I helped develop and implement Samsung electronics CSR strategy for Scandinavia. In 2009, I took a 10-month sabbatical to travel around the world looking at social innovation on a grass roots level. From 2010-2012 I studied a master’s program of Peace Studies at ICU in Tokyo, Japan, focusing on leadership in open social innovation processes. I wrote my master’s thesis with OpenIDEO in Palo Alto. During my stay in Silicon Valley, I met the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, and together with them opened a Peace Innovation Lab in Berlin in 2012. In parallel, I was working on my Kids Have a Dream project and working on CSR and Public Affairs for Coca-Cola Germany and various clients for Eobiont, a Berlin consultancy.
In 2015, I co-founded ReDI School of Digital Integration with Ferdi van Heerden.
How and why did you launch your business? What are some next steps for your business, ReDi School?
In August 2015, I met Mohammed, a programmer from Iraq, in a refugee camp in Berlin. He was worried that he would lose his programming skills because he did not have access to a laptop. Only giving him a laptop, it would be a bit like giving a hungry man a fish. Hence, the idea of ReDI School was born: teaching refugees’ digital skills to accelerate their integration into the German job market.
In Germany there are currently 124.000 vacant jobs within the field of IT and the industry is losing billions of euros each year because of the lack of access to qualified IT talent. At the same time there were 1,8 million refugees who arrived in Germany between 2015-2019. When you ask adult refugees what they want the most, they say a job! 5 years after arriving in Germany only half of the adult refugees are in jobs.
ReDI School is creating a classical win-win-win.
We currently have schools in Berlin, München, Düsseldorf, Duisburg Essen and Copenhagen and teach around 1800 students per year. The next step is to fundraise more and to open more programs in more locations. In 5 years, I would like us to be teaching around 5000 students per year across the world.
What is your biggest source for inspiration right now?
The ReDI School students who are the most resilient people I know. Despite so many odds stacked against them, they keep studying, keep dreaming and keep applying themselves to get a job in Europe and to become active and engaged citizens. I am especially happy when former students land jobs in the IT sector and come back as a teacher “to pay it forward” and make a difference. 20% of the teachers in our kids’ program are for instance former students of ours. This warms my heart and keeps me motivated.
Do you have a piece of advice for future Kaospilot graduates?
Be humble and generous! Remember to ask for help. Remember to say thank you (*everyone loves flowers and hand-written cards!) and remember to send updates to people who have helped you along the way.
Anne Kjaer Bathel is the CEO & Founder of ReDI School of Digital Integration, which is head quartered in Berlin, Germany. ReDI is a non-profit digital school for tech-interested locals and newcomers in Germany. Prior to starting her own school, Anne has worked as a consultant in both Copenhagen and Berlin, working on large-scale projects focused on CSR for clients such as Samsung Scandinavia and Coca-Cola Germany. Anne also started a Peace Innovation Lab in Berlin, in 2012, in collaboration with the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab.