WIN Participants

Harout, Clemence, Sherko, Loubna, Mouminy, Horatio, Milan and Roman work via the WIN-project in the Netherlands. Read all about their experiences.

Roman (20)

“In Ukraine, I was still in secondary school, but I had no idea what I wanted to do later in life. During the process of naturalisation, after a detailed assessment, I was placed in the technical work/learning company. There I ‘discovered’ construction; I like to work with my hands and I am also good at it.

The ROC didn’t have training for this, so I was assigned to work directly for a contractor. I work full-time and attend school two evenings per week. I had my first brick-laying course at the company and I am now working ‘outside’ under supervision. If they find me good enough, I will receive a permanent contract. I hope so, because there is a lot of construction work in the Netherlands.”

Harout (25)

“As soon as I received my residence permit, I started the naturalisation process. I was still living in the centre for asylum seekers. I studied Dutch for ten weeks at the work/learning company K’pabel and had a detailed assessment. Afterwards I pursued career training on my own. I am very motivated and got to where I am now by working very hard.

In Syria, I had been a goldsmith for 10 years, since primary school. However, it is not easy to find a position here in that area. Fortunately, my technical knowledge and fine motor skills could also be applied elsewhere. I now work as a dental technician and make prostheses; next year I will study further in this area. Plus, twice a week I give basketball training and I play on a team in Tilburg! That is what I call naturalisation.”

Clemence (28)

“In Gambia I worked for 15 years as a cook. I only went as far as primary school, so learning Dutch was very difficult for me. During the naturalisation process at the ROC, I was advised to opt for the hotel and catering industry. However, I preferred to enter the healthcare sector; I had wanted to work with the elderly for a long time.

I pursued an internship with a nursing home via the work/learning company. This worked out very well, for both parties. And my Dutch improved immensely. They offered me a permanent job, and in the evenings, I am now following additional training in healthcare and in the Dutch language. They tell me that I am one of the strongest participants in the programme. I feel very much at home where I’m at.”

Sherko (38)

“I come from Kurdistan where I worked as a teacher at a primary school. Since fleeing to the Netherlands eight years ago, I have found it difficult to find work in my field.

The naturalisation process allowed me to study further: the Dutch language and society, as well as training in applying for a job. After four months, I was able to interview for work in my field. I was so happy; I don’t know how I made it through that day. Now I am attending an internship at the healthcare department of Arcus College in Heerlen. I am very happy with this; I learn a lot from my colleagues and they have helped me learn Dutch well. As soon as my internship is finished, I want to quickly find a nice paid job, within or outside Arcus.”

Loubna (30)

“In Morocco, I completed my basic course in private law in French. When I moved to the Netherlands, however, I had to discontinue my studies. You can’t get far here without a diploma. And in fact I don’t know for sure what kind of job suits me.

I am now participating in a naturalisation programme at viaIRO, a reintegration agency. They are helping me assess my skills and my opportunities in the labour market. At the same time, I am working for the administrative department of the Municipality of Maastricht and am following Dutch lessons at the university. In this way I am learning on the job what I am good at and what I like to do. A nice start to my career in the Netherlands, whatever direction it finally takes.”

Horatio (35)

“I have always worked in the hotel and catering sector, not only in Romania where I come from, but also in Italy and in Spain. I wanted to do the same in the Netherlands; I like working hard and being surrounded by people.

At the ROC, I received training as hotel and catering sector assistant in combination with learning Dutch. My teacher says that I have the right ‘ingredients’ for service: open, communicative and cheerful. And because I already speak seven languages, Dutch was not so difficult. With the ROC diploma in my pocket, I am no longer required to take naturalisation examinations. I found work myself, at a pizzeria in Heerlen. My Italian also comes in handy there!”

Mila (36)

“My husband and I have had our own plastering company in Kerkrade for a year. I handle the accounting and the administration. This is very different from teaching Russian, which is what I did back home. But I like being my own boss.

At the ROC Arcus College, I learned administrative skills, economics and Dutch. I found that easy, so I then took a written course in practical accounting on my own. My Dutch has improved enormously. Which is extremely important as entrepreneur, because if you make too many spelling errors, you quickly find that people no longer take you seriously.”

Mouminy (23)

“After primary school in Guinea, I started refurbishing mopeds to earn money. When I started the naturalisation process in the Netherlands, it quickly became clear which direction was for me: something technical. During practical training at the work/learning company I knew for certain – I wanted to become a painter. The ROC then arranged for me to attend a professional painting school in Sittard.

I now have one day of class per week and work four days for a painting company in Kerkrade. Some day I would like to start my own company, but for the moment I am happy with my colleagues; I can speak Dutch with them.”