From a single player in 2020 to a team in 2022. The year in which NewBees Midden-Gelderland will guide at least 200 newcomers with their participation and integration.

Bastiaan Kuijt (38) started NewBees Midden-Gelderland in March 2020. He began at home during the lockdown, alone, with a laptop and a phone. Today he leads the largest NewBees team, team Midden-Gelderland where at least 200 people will be joining this year (2023).

Bastiaan Kuijt

Bastiaan: “I was born and raised in Arnhem. I know both the region and the social map very well and I can use my own network to put NewBees on the map. People from various parties quickly gave us great opportunities: the Province, the Municipality, the volunteer centers, local employers and social organizations that were already active here, such as Refugee Company and Buddy to Buddy . We made good matches at various employers. For newcomers who had never worked in their own country, but also for experienced, highly educated newcomers, for people who had international ambitions, and others who wanted to work in education or in the arts.”

NewBees was awarded a tender for participation in nine municipalities in the Central Gelderland region

“In the past seven years, NewBees has shown what it can do in various places in the Netherlands, making a positive impact on newcomers and on the receiving society. As a result, together with our language partner NLtraining, we were awarded the tender in nine municipalities in the region Mid-Gelderland. Within the new Civic Integration Act, we provide participation trajectories for people who integrate via the Z-route. They follow 800 hours of language lessons at NLTraining and do 800 participation hours via NewBees. In addition, we offer people in the B-1 route our film education program and the MDT-traineeship to young newcomers between 17 and 27 years.”

“In the past seven years, NewBees has shown what it can do in various places in the Netherlands: Make a positive impact on newcomers and on the host society.”

Collaboration with NL training

“The programs of NLTraining and NewBees are well aligned. With every progress in the Dutch language, we take our participation activities one step further. We strengthen each other. At the office on the Oude Oeverstraat in Arnhem that NewBees shares with NLtraining, we meet the newcomers for whom we organize participation activities. Their trajectory starts at the municipality, where their learning route is determined by a learnability test. The newcomer then comes to NLtraining, where he/she passes an extra language check and registers at NewBees.”

NewBees Midden-Gelderland organizes all participation activities except PVT

“All participation activities for people following the Z-route fall under our responsibility, except for the PVT (participation statement process). We usually start with the intake interview where we get to know the participants, their talents, possibilities, experiences and ambitions. Together with the participant, we make a tailor-made participation learning plan. NewBees has developed participation building blocks that are well suited to the language education they get at NLTraining. They can be used modularly and differ in nature, so that an ideal tailor-made mix is made for each participant.”

“Based on feedback from the participants, we adjust the programs where necessary and devise new activities.”

Matching is tailor-made

“We look at individual wishes and possibilities. Together with the participant, we determine in close consultation how many hours per week, and which type of volunteer work or apprenticeship program fits best. One person finds four hours a week enough and the other prefers to work several days a week. Here too we provide custom work, the hours and the type of work of the ‘matching’ building block are different for each participant.”

We develop our neighborhood safaris in collaboration with local partners

“The building block ‘neighborhood safari’ is a participatory and interactive way to get to know the city and its neighborhoods and to use language to discover local themes such as health care, education, culture, public transport, safety, etc. We develop the neighborhood safaris, together with local partners, such as Library Rozet and Musis Sacrum. Together we think about what we will show and tell newcomers, subjects that newcomers will benefit from. Our matchers, who came here as newcomers themselves, know which information participants need. We developed a map with QR codes that lead to short films made by our matchers, in which they tell something about the function and history of the place we visit and about their personal experience. We will soon be visiting the municipality of Arnhem with participants to experience local politics.”

“Together with my colleagues, I try to forge a great team. And we succeed, because we have complementary expertise and diverse backgrounds. We strengthen each other.”

Working in the Netherlands

“We have just started working with the module MAP (Labor Market and Participation Module): A series of ten interactive workshops about working in the Netherlands. Themes that we address include CVs, applying for jobs, elevator pitch and career orientation. Everything that is needed to find suitable work here and to use your talent in the best possible way. With the participation building block ‘network conversations’, we facilitate meetings between the participants and people from their own neighborhood or city with whom they share something: the same study, profession, ambition or hobby. Such an encounter helps to discover what voluntary work people are willing and able to do. For them it is often a first step towards (volunteer) work or language internship.”

We listen to needs and keep innovating

“During the participation activities we ask our participants for feedback. We then either adjust the programs or create new activities, such as for example, the ‘work-safari’. During a ‘work-safari’, we visit a company with a group of participants. Everyone participate in work activities. They experience how they can use their talents, what is possible for them here in the field of volunteer work, or internship, or work-learning programs. For the work safari, we approach larger employers with multiple departments where multiple types of work can be done so that we can also provide tailor-made solutions. We recently did a successful pilot at Siza, an organization that helps people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.”

“I think it’s good that the municipalities are back in charge of the implementation for new Civic Integration Act. The newcomers and the quality of their integration process are now again central. Newcomers can learn Dutch in a good and pleasant way, they have more time and peace of mind to find their place and to rebuild themselves.”

Practice what you preach

“Together with my colleagues, I try to forge a great team. And we succeed, because we have complementary expertise and diverse backgrounds. We strengthen each other. ‘Practice what you preach’, that’s exactly what we do. NewBees gives people space to work from their own strength and talent. I was given that space three years ago. I got room to build, to do great things, to make a difference and to connect. Leading the NewBees Midden-Gelderland team continues to makes me happy every single day.”


team NewBees Midden-Gelderland

Team NewBees Midden-Gelderland


You can find more information about our activities in the Midden-Gelderland region here.

If you want to know more about the impact of our work, please read our annual report.

Photos: Mo Alzoabi

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