• Ellen Barnes

Changemaking Collaborations: NewBees Partners with Casemanagers in Zaanstad/Werkom

"The most rewarding part is when a newcomer has got a job, and they’re happy with it. NewBees is a very important link between volunteer work and finding work.” - Monique, Casemanager (left)

Monique shares something valuable with NewBees: a personal goal to help newcomers thrive in their new home country. As a case manager at the municipality of Zaanstad/Werkom, her job is to help prepare refugees in the community for paid work in the Netherlands.

“Our job is to get them ready for a paid job as soon as possible,” she said. “And for that we’ve got several instruments.”

When newcomers began arriving to Zaanstad a few years ago, a personal encounter left her motivated to get involved. “I talked with a few people from Syria, and I was both touched and worried about them,” she said. “I thought this job would be a good fit for me.”

A meaningful collaboration

The process of preparing a newcomer for paid work, she’s found, can often become complex, multi-faceted, and full of unexpected cultural and logistical challenges. It also requires pre-existing connections with local organizations.

Enter: NewBees. By working on a personal level with case managers in Zaanstad/Werkom, NewBees helps match newcomers from the gemeente to rewarding traineeships and internships that serve as an important bridge to finding paid work.

“NewBees made all the connections during the past few years. It is really helpful — to help the people speak better Dutch, and also get more work experience.”

“Of course, Zaanstad/Werkom has several instruments and tools," she added, "but if the casemanagers had to establish all the connections for voluntary work, it would be very hard. We couldn’t do this within 40 hours a week.”

NewBees also helps with the logistical challenges of matching newcomers to traineeships. “NewBees takes effort in making appointments for an intake conversation, and that’s really a lot of work. It’s difficult because the people also go to school, usually 3 times a week, so it’s difficult to find a good schedule for them that also fits in with the vacancies.”

The satisfaction of success

Her favorite part of her role? Watching progress. “The most rewarding part is finding out when a newcomer got a job, and they’re happy with it. That’s the most satisfying part.”

“Before that, though, every step a person takes is satisfying. The paid job is the icing on the cake — that’s really the most beautiful, of course, but sometimes that takes a long time, maybe even a few years.”

Her advice to other municipalities considering partnering with similar organizations? “If you don’t do it, I think there’s an enormous gap, and I wouldn’t know how to fill it otherwise.”

“I think it’s essential — NewBees is very well needed.”

To learn more about how NewBees can partner with your gemeente to make matches that matter, visit our gemeente information page.

#Zaanstad #NewBees #gemeente

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