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Who we are and what we do

Managing Directors: Walerich Berger, Sandra Schimmler

Chairwoman of the Board/President of the Association: Walter Ferk

  • around 1,400 employees
  • around 21,000 customers

Central and regional.

Jugend am Werk Steiermark is among the leading providers of social services in the Province of Styria. Located throughout all Styrian districts and the capital city of Graz, our staff in over 140 facilities seek to support people close to their homes and to assist them with relevant offers and services in difficult phases of their lives. Together with our customers, we take new approaches, activate existing resources and develop opportunities. At the same time, we focus on the individuality of the people and their environments - with all their needs and desires: This approach is also reflected in the work and actions of Jugend am Werk. 

As a non-profit enterprise we do not pursue profit-making. Our success is measured in terms of how satisfied the people are who use our services and to what extent their life realities can be improved in terms of equal opportunities.

Diversity? That's our business.

Our portfolio is as diverse as the challenges life provides. Our customers are children, young adults and adults with a need for support in professional, social and personal life issues. Children, young adults and families receive support in crisis situations. People of all ages in need of support get the chance to be educated/qualified and to be (re-)integrated into the labour market. People with disabilities receive person-centred support, they become independent and have a real chance for participating in work and employment. 

We are committed to the values of international human rights conventions and we are constantly working to improve the individual chances for people at all levels. Social diversity and inclusion (equal participation of all in society), a focus on social spaces (activation and involvement of the living environment), deinstitutionalisation and focussing on our customers' wishes are the guiding values that we implement in our work every day.

A strong European network.

Jugend am Werk is a popular coordinator and partner in numerous European projects. Why? Coordinating and collaborating in EU-funded projects enhances our understanding of transnational cooperation. We have successfully completed 27 EU-projects and are currently working on five more. European projects come with numerous possibilities.

  • Exchange of experiences
  • Best-practice learning
  • Sharing experiences in the international context
  • Promoting the bigger picture


Jugend am Werk is certified to the European ISO 9001:2015 standard. The divisions of education/work/employment are certified to the Ö-Cert standard, the quality frame for adult education in Austria. In 2020, we were granted the right to bear the provincial coat of arms.

Seven of our kitchens at Jugend am Werk have been awarded the Styria vitalis award "Grüner Teller" ("Green plate"). In addition, we have been awarded the quality seal for workplace health promotion of the ÖGK regional health insurance funds.

The job as a vocation.

Work can be much more than getting up in the morning and making money for your rent. People who work for Jugend am Werk have decided to participate in one of the most diverse and largest social service providers with a high quality standard in the Province of Styria. Our around 1,400 employees are as diverse as the organisation itself, and yet, they have much more in common: They are well-trained and have a love for training and education, they enjoy what they are doing, they show respect and appreciation of others. Their high degree of professionalism and expertise is valued by both customers as well as contractors.

Not just a story. Our history.

1948: Foundation of Jugend am Werk Association. Its aim is to reduce the high youth unemployment rate after worldwar 2.

1960s: Working with people with disabilities becomes an additional key area.

1970s: With the economic slump in the 70s, labour market administration is becoming important again. Vocational preparation courses for unemployed people and trainings in the hotel and catering sector are offered. 

1980s: In 1982, Jugend am Werk introduces the first socio-educational residential community in the Province of Styria. That is also the foundation for the key area of child and youth services.

1990s: When Austria joined the EU in 1995, Jugend am Werk found a new important operational field: EU projects and their shared international initiatives provide the possibility to look at various problems in the social area from a more differentiated and flexible perspective and to find solutions more efficiently.

2000s: Foundation of the Jugend am Werk Steiermark GmbH, which carries out all operational activities of Jugend am Werk. New legal requirements represent a completely new framework for Jugend am Werk in the area of disability services. 

Restructuring the organisation and change of management in May 2009. Start of our equipment and modernisation campaign throughout the province.

2010s: Following first pilot projects, Jugend am Werk has been intensively engaged in the implementation of EU projects. Jugend am Werk Salzburg is founded as a subsidiary of Jugend am Werk Steiermark GmbH; its focus lies on child and youth services and on mobile refugee services. Implementation of non-profit employment projects commissioned by the Austrian Labour Market Service and the Province of Styria: Integration of (long-term) unemployed people into the labour market via transit jobs. Primary support for refugees, grown-ups and minors, in flats rather than large refugee camps on behalf of the Province of Styria.

Today: Even more than 75 years after we were founded, our organisation keeps growing steadily. Times are challenging, and, thanks to our diversity, we meet them courageously: In addition to our wide range of established services, it is particularly the small and innovative projects that strengthen and drive the organisation. Through networking with other partners and stakeholders, they countribute to the fact that the organisation is anything but a rigid tanker; it is able to easily and dynamically navigate around current challenges.