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Job instead of work placement

20 September 2006 – One hundred students of the Huygenscollege in Oud-West will get a job for about one day per week, while carrying out assignments for school. District council member Annemarie de Raadt of the Social-Democrat PvdA party hopes to solve the shortage of work placements in a way that benefits everybody.

It concerns students who are in the final year of their lower secondary professional education. For their work, they will be paid just like any other employee. In addition, they will have to carry out assignments for school. “For example: find out about logistics at the Albert Heijn supermarket, or about the Etos chemist’s marketing. Or talk with a manager to find out how he got to where he is now”, says De Raadt, who initiated the programme.

Employers including Etos, Albert Heijn, Blokker, Gebroeders Winter, Praxis, C&A, IciParis, V&D, Hennes & Maurits, Kruidvat, Dirk van de Broek, Perry Sport, Free Record Shop, Gamma and Hema participate in the programme.

“We do not really care for students in work placements, but this is something we believe in”, a personnel officer of the C&A department store told De Raadt. Because it is a real job, demands can be made on the student. If things do not work out, the student can be fired. However, it was agreed that the employer will first try to work out a solution with the school in such cases.

Tomorrow, a fair will be organised where students can get to know the companies that participate in the programme. They will also be interviewed by the Start temp agency to find out what kind of work they would like. Start further offers job interview training.

De Raadt says that sufficient jobs are available, although some will be more popular than others. For example, many students will probably be interested in a job with Paintball Jungle. This may not be the case for the position of a stock clerk with Albert Heijn, even though it has been agreed that employees will be promoted to cashier as soon as possible so that they gain more experience.

Among the students, many are of Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese descent. It is not always easy for them to get a job if they just walk into a store. The programme should help them get a fair chance at the labour market.

The programme was born in part from frustration with the official three-week work experience. This is too short to really learn anything or to be of use to the employer. In addition, students often are less than motivated. It is expected that this will change when they get a real paying job.

De Raadt further wants to show that you need not have endless meetings, it is better to just get started. “I met someone at the Chamber of Commerce who was on six consultative bodies on work placements, and then nothing has been done yet”.


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