10 years innovating in practice

HIT Foundation

2001 – Joining force to solve labour shortages

Despite labour shortages, migrants are unable to get a foothold in the employment market. To solve bottlenecks in the labour market, all stakeholders are convinced that far-reaching collaboration is necessary. Employers (SME Limburg), employees (FNV), municipalities (Heerlen, Maastricht, Venlo) and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum seekers (COA) join forces.

Together they establish the HIT Foundation (Stichting Hersteld vertrouwen In de Toekomst = Restored Confidence in the Future). The province of Limburg supports the initiative. Temporary employment agency Start and multinational DSM finance the start-up phase.

2002 – Training-on-the-job

HIT develops on-the-job-training pilots together with regional training centres (ROC’s), asylum coaches and academics. 2,000 asylum seekers are trained as hairdressers, construction workers and car mechanics. Best and worst practices are exchanged and discussed at length. Outcome: the ROC’s incorporate the new methodology into their regular curriculum.

Fall 2004 – Sharing knowledge

To share knowledge with European peers, HIT organises a large conference on professional education for migrants in Maastricht. Based on field experience in five countries the conclusion is unanimous: work is crucial for integration, no matter where in the world!

2005 – 2007 – Field innovation supported by ESF Equal

HIT initiates two large innovation projects to help asylum seekers find their way (back) to the labour market: Working in the Netherlands (WIN) and the Return Development Project (TOP). Both are set up in close collaboration with regional training centres, reintegration firms, refugee organisations, employers and local authorities. Funding: HIT Foundation, European Social Fund (ESF) Equal, COA, Province of Limburg and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fall 2007 – Practice meets policy

Together with Equal-partners from Germany, Denmark and Spain, HIT organises a large migration conference in the European Parliament. Field experts and politicians from eleven EU countries meet up to exchange experiences with European politicians and policy makers. Conclusion: concrete experiments are needed to take advantage of the benefits of labour migration. Today the focus is still primarily on the threats.

2008 – The next step

To make labour migration work properly, coherence across political boundaries and state boarders is key. Only then can we achieve the potential benefits that labour migration entails for all parties involved. HIT continues to bring stakeholders together in debate, to help shape a sustainable vision on labour and migration and to conduct pilots in the field to bring about the necessary innovation.

2009 – Crossing Borders

On behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HIT conducts action research on the potential for increased cooperation between EU member states and with countries of origin on the sustainable return and reintegration of asylum seekers. In addition HIT is one of the drivers behind the establishment of the Dutch Foundation for Sustainable Return.
At the same time, HIT dives into the challenges that a shrinking population might have on the labour market in Limburg and its surrounding areas. The Nightingales scenarios initiative provides insight into the social economic system that drives wealth and prosperity in the region.

Present activities can be found under current projects on this website.