From Incluusion Traineeship to Paid Job

Refugees gain work experience at UU

De nieuwe trainees van 2023
A few of the new trainees of 2023, with project leader Lina Senen (front left) en project manager Ragna Senf (middle left)

Nine status holders finished their Incluusion Traineeship in 2022. Eight of the trainees found a job within or outside of the university. This is a great result, since according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, around 60 percent of all status holders are still unemployed after five years.

Since 2021, Incluusion has been offering a traineeship programme for unemployed status holders. The traineeship lasts 6 to 8 months and provides status holders with the opportunity to gain relevant work experience in the Netherlands, develop themselves professionally, and improve their Dutch language skills. The traineeship is intended as a springboard to a paid job, within or outside of the UU.

Language is not everything
Finding a job proves difficult for status holders, despite the tight labor market. Foreign diplomas, a language barrier, and an (apparently inexplicable) gap on their resume are reasons why status holders cannot find work. Trainee Darin says, "I thought that if I could break the language barrier, I would be able to get the job that I aspire. To be honest, language helps you access this country, but it's not everything." Similarly important are having a professional network and gaining relevant work experience in the Netherlands.

The traineeship programme therefore also aims to broaden the trainees' network. More than half of the trainees who completed their traineeship in 2022 found a job through their colleagues' network or through Incluusion. Mentioning the acquired work experience at Utrecht University also helps with future job applications, according to the trainees.

Incluusion trainees of 2022 were placed at the University Library, University College Utrecht, HR, et al.

Support within Utrecht University
The traineeship programme was improved based on feedback from former trainees and their supervisors. For example, the new trainees of 2023 had a joint onboarding and Incluusion organizes meetings with specific themes throughout the year to strengthen the connection between the trainees.

"It is incredibly valuable when the trainees can share their experiences within Utrecht University with each other," says Lina Senen, Traineeships project leader. Senen continues, "For most trainees, this is their first introduction to the Dutch work culture. Everything is new, and it helps to share their challenges and highlights."

For 2023, 10 new trainees have already been placed. The new trainees will work in various departments and faculties of the university again. Senen easily lists them, "SO&O, the Botanical Gardens, Geosciences, ITS, Science, Humanities, Social Sciences. I think we've placed a trainee at almost every faculty by now!"

Want to learn more about the programme or place a trainee yourself?