Since a few years, Europe and Belgium are facing a large influx of asylum seekers. Thousands of asylum seekers are asking the Immigration Department to be recognised as refugee. This large group of newcomers causes several social challenges. One of these being guidance to the labour market.
For the project “Work & Diversity @ Antwerp 1.0”, Konvert, the city of Antwerp, training fund of temporary workers, VDAB, OCMW Antwerp and Katoen Natie bundled their forces. Refugees with the refugee or subsidiary protection status residing in Antwerp can subscribe to this project. The candidates were giving qualitative training in the logistic sector (truck driver or electric pallet). Upon successfully completing the training and passing the test the refugees started working as a temporary worker with a Konvert contract at Katoen Natie.
Directly through Work & Diversity @ Antwerp and indirectly through word-of-mouth, 28 refugees started as a temporary employee during phase one of the project. The largest group originated from Afghanistan but also Iraqi, Egyptian and Pakistani nationalities are represented. Phase two is now ongoing.
Obviously, such a project brings difficulties along with it, being making agreements between Dutch courses + social orientation, training, employment, language and tuning between various actors. But this project mostly brings positive experiences such as a joint management between several partners bringing all parties closer to each other, but above all, it creates a promising training and working program for refugees!
As employment partner, Konvert focusses on administrative and business support aswel as finding funding for training and paperwork. The only thing we ask you, the client, is commercial space for training and an open mind towards working with a specific target group. The results at Katoen Natie are promising and show that hiring refugees works! Interested? Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.