Participants from Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba and the city of Leiden, the Netherlands, during an exchange on labour mediation and reintegration at Leiden city hall. (Buro JP photo)
SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–Eight employees from the Public Entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are following an internship programme at the Work and Income Department, reintegration company DZB and the City Bank of the Municipality of Leiden, the Netherlands. The aim of the exchange, which started Monday, is to increase knowledge about job placement and reintegration among civil servants in the Caribbean Netherlands.
Since May 2017, the city of Leiden has a twinning project with Bonaire, Statia and Saba, realised with the cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment SZW.
At the time the Ministry was looking for a municipality that could support the islands in professionalising job placement. The municipality of Leiden has “rented out” three colleagues to the islands within the framework of the twinning agreement.
“Having a job is the best way for many people to be independent and to participate in society. In Leiden we have a lot of experience with helping people out of social support. Step by step we personally start working with people for them to get a job. I find it very special that we can also share this knowledge with colleagues from Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. We are very proud that we will be able to give a group of professionals a peek into our kitchen over the next three weeks, and, of course, we will learn from their experiences,” said Leiden Alderman for Work and Income Yvonne van Delft.
On Monday morning, Van Delft received Commissioner Edsel Cecilia and Director Society and Care at the Public Entity Bonaire Silvana Serfilia at Leiden city hall.
“The Reinforcement of Job Placement” programme is now running at full speed. A professional placement service may significantly increase the chances of employment for local jobseekers. Leiden supports the public entities in further professionalising their job-placement tasks. It is deemed important that knowledge and experience is sustainably secured.
“The twinning with Leiden has significantly increased the number of placements of job seekers in the labour market. A fantastic result that we are very proud of,” Cecilia said.
A new intake method was introduced last year and there is specific attention for the target group of people with a disability.
An example of this is the new learning-working trajectory that has been set up for people with an occupational disability at Mangasina di Rei open-air museum in Bonaire.
There is also more cooperation between different stakeholders in the fields of education, work and income.
Workshops for job applications and presentations, which were developed in Leiden, have been adapted to the local Caribbean situation and a start has been made with approaching employers on the islands.
Furthermore, plans for a “plenchi di trabou,” or a work plaza, will be further elaborated in the coming period.
The eight participants in the internship are professionals from the Labour and Social Support Units at the SZW Departments in Bonaire, Statia and Saba.
Also, the Director of the Department of Society and Welfare in Statia is enthusiastic about the collaboration. “One of the important elements of the twinning is the exchange internship at the municipality of Leiden and DZB. Our employees can gain knowledge and inspiration in Leiden in the field of job placement. At the beginning of October, St. Eustatius will also get a job mediator from Leiden who will support us. We are happy with that. Moreover, Leiden employees can learn from our experiences again.”
The internship programme takes three weeks and includes, among other things, job training and workshops on employer approach, working with a disability, and debt counselling. In addition, participants visit a number of learning pathways, such as “The Eco Garden” and “The Stable,” and they take a look at the social-work provision.
A visit will also be made to companies which employ people with a disability and they will pay a working visit to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.