Jaoualia Ouazizi: familiarising new Dutch residents with the labour market
Tenant in the spotlight
Jaoualia Ouazizi is the branch manager at the Werkclub. They prepare new Dutch residents for the labour market. Following their success in Dordrecht, they wanted to open a second branch in Rotterdam. Due to the overwhelming number of registrations, a location had to be found quickly. That became the Groot Handelsgebouw. Their contract commenced March 1, and by March 5 the first training sessions were already underway.
Not clients, but members
The Werkclub helps status holders to build a new future in the Netherlands. Four groups have now started in Rotterdam with a total of 60 participants. ‘Status holders become members and follow a path that consists of training, workshops and 1-on-1 coaching. As soon as their programme is complete, status holders are guided to education or the labour market,’ Jaoualia explains.
She is more than just a branch manager and also presents to the group at least once a week. ‘I enjoy doing it. This way I stay in contact with our members and I know what is going on.’ Among other things, she provides job interview training, helps with CV preparation, and explains employment contracts. ‘That’s pretty complex. Most of our members have never had an employment contract. They worked with verbal agreements and were simply paid.’
‘Through my work, I want to make an impact and help new Dutch residents to seize the opportunities that are available.’
Advocate of a warm welcome
‘The Netherlands is my country and I want to contribute to it. I think it’s important for everyone to get equal opportunities and to also feel welcome. Through my work, I want to make an impact and help new Dutch residents to seize the opportunities that are available.’ Jaoualia relates enthusiastically that it works both ways. More and more employers find it difficult to attract good, motivated staff. She wants to demonstrate that there is enough talent and knowledge available.
‘Here in the Netherlands, they have to start at the bottom of the ladder again.’
The Werkclub timeline lasts 3 to 5 years. ‘That’s when it really pays off,’ says Jaoualia. ‘Our timeline is intensive. Members come to our lessons 4-days-a-week. That requires effort and commitment.’ The majority of Werkclub members come from Syria or Eritrea. Others come from Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. ‘Here in the Netherlands, they have to start at the bottom of the ladder again. One of our members trained as a ship’s officer in Egypt. He also wanted to work on the water again in the Netherlands and asked whether he could be placed in the Rotterdam asylum seekers’ centre. He has been offered a job in inland shipping. His new employer funds his training. Our member was completely cheered up by this news.’
Jaoualia is completely at home in Rotterdam and looks forward to the future. ‘I am very proud of our location in the Groot Handelsgebouw, surrounded by so many entrepreneurs and so much activity. I really want to uncover all the opportunities here.’ Would you like to do something for the Werkclub members? They are looking for career coaches!
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