Helping newcomers build careers in Belgium

Vlerick Business School and Talentree launch an educational programme for newcomers

Vlerick Business School and Talentree – a job platform for highly-educated multicultural talent – are launching an educational programme aimed at integrating highly-educated newcomers into the Belgian labour market more quickly. This project, being carried out with the support of the European Social Fund and the Flemish Government, follows a successful example of the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden, in which 80% of the highly-educated participants obtained a job at the end of the process. The Newcomer Induction Management Acceleration programme consists of management training combined with an internship and intensive coaching and mentoring for both participating talents and internship companies.

The Vlerick Business School and Talentree project supports highly-educated newcomers in finding a job that matches their qualifications, enhancing diversity within Belgian organisations. In times of increasing labour shortage, this project connects highly-educated newcomers and companies in a sustainable way.

Emmy Defever - Hannelore Waterschoot - Dirk Buyens
The team behind the Newcomer Induction Management Acceleration programme. From left to right: Emmy Defever (researcher at Vlerick Business School), Hannelore Waterschoot (Founder Talentree) and Dirk Buyens (Professor Human Resource Management at Vlerick Business School).

Today, there is still a large gap in employability between natives and newcomers. Even with the right qualifications and work experience, newcomers find it difficult to enter the labour market. Surprisingly, this gap in employability between natives and newcomers increases with educational degree: a gap of 14% for lower-educated people, compared to 39% for highly educated people (Hiva, De Cuyper, 2016). Moreover, data from the OECD show that migrants have a higher chance of being overqualified for their job than natives with the same educational degree.

“We will have to invest in integrating and using the talent of highly-educated newcomers, if Belgium wants to stay competitive in the global war for talent,” says Hannelore Waterschoot, who founded Talentree in 2016 to build a bridge between multicultural talent and Belgian employers. Studies show that the working population in Belgium has been decreasing since 2014 and is expected to hit a low point in 2038. Migration already plays a significant role in the most dynamic sectors of the economy: newcomers represent 15% of the inflow in rapidly growing professions in Europe, such as healthcare and STEM professions (Migration Policy Debates © OECD May 2014).

Dirk Buyens, Professor of Human Resource Management at Vlerick Business School, explains the project: “From September 2018 to March 2019, a group of highly-educated newcomers will follow a 20-day management training, which will address both leadership skills and the different sub-domains of management. Next to this, they will do a 6-month internship (in collaboration with VDAB), combined with intensive mentoring and coaching, which will be provided to companies as well. We are currently screening highly-educated newcomers and interviewing interested companies, so that by the end of June 2018 we can start with a first cohort of 16 participants.”

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