Landscape gardener: a job with perspective for newcomers

In collaboration with Project 8 NewBees offers traineeships to newcomers who want to work in the landscape gardening sector. The pilot started in January 2022. After their training, participants will be employed by various landscaping companies for a period of six months. Michelle Koomen, founder of Project 8, tells about her initiative.

Michelle: “There is a significant shortage of personnel in the landscape gardening sector. According to industry association VHG – Koninklijke Vereniging van Hoveniers en Groenvoorzieners – there is work for at least 500 new landscape gardeners in the Netherlands. At the same time, there are newcomers who would like to work in this industry. They only need a little more guidance and additional training in the Dutch language. Employers are open to hiring newcomers, but lack knowledge and time to do it.”

Connecting newcomers to the landscape gardening sector

“I wondered why it is so difficult to link demand (from employers) and supply (from employees). Apparently, institutions that offer services for newcomers do not always work together. And that makes it difficult for both newcomers and employers to find each other. With this insight, I started Project 8. Our mission is to bring newcomers and employers closer together in order to create sustainable labor relations and increase solidarity in society. This year we started a pilot in the greater Amsterdam region, but would like to organize this in other regions in the same way next year. Maybe in Rotterdam.”

Collaboration with NewBees

“Together with industry association VHG, Project 8 has developed the Green Inclusive Deal in which NewBees takes on the guidance of newcomers and employers. Our vision, to create an inclusive labor market in which everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and be themselves, fits in seamlessly with NewBees’ mission: to make the Netherlands more inclusive through the workplace. The Green Inclusive Deal ensures that more newcomers are properly trained and guided towards a job within the landscape gardening sector and that employers are supported as much as possible so that they dare taking this step.”

After the training course, the participants will be employed and fully paid for a period of six months

“The traineeship starts with a training course of thirteen weeks. Participants receive lessons three days a week: one day work training (handling tools), one day “green” training and one day language, vocabulary relevant in the industry (jargon). The training course is free and the participants retain their benefits. At the end of the training, participants will begin the second part of the traineeship and start working at a company in the landscaping industry. They will receive a six-month contract and will be fully paid. During this working period, the participants will receive guidance and workshops from NewBees. At the end of the traineeship, they will have work experience and they will receive the NewBees certificate.”

The first insights

“The program that started on January 12, 2022 will be completed shortly. During the training, participants worked together with gardeners from Artis, partner and practice location for the program. They mention language and cultural differences as possible obstacles that can lead to miscommunication at the workplace. Participants also have to get used to the strict Dutch safety rules. But overall feedback is very positive. The participants are enthusiastic, eager to learn, and they work hard. They also often have experience as farmers or landscape gardeners. As a result, they know how to use the tools but now have to learn how they are called in Dutch.”

Next step

“On April 11, the group of eight newcomers participating in the project will be divided into five medium to large local landscaping companies. Meetings between participants and companies have already taken place. Participants know where they are going to work and are well prepared. Employers who participate in this project must have the intention to offer the newcomers follow-up contracts. If participants decide to continue working in the landscape gardening sector, they may also choose to start an MBO course and work part-time.”

Do you have an initiative that connects newcomers to employers and are you looking for a partner to support you? Or are you an employer and would you like to hire new talent but you don’t know how to approach this? Please contact us by sending a message to: info@new-bees.org.

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