Mahdi Janabi (50) came to the Netherlands at the end of 2015. He has many years of experience as a printing specialist in Lebanon and is therefore very happy that NewBees matched him with a traineeship at Kapsenberg van Waesberge, thé printing company in Rotterdam. He has been doing an internship there since June.
Mahdi: “I feel privileged with this internship. Printing is my passion. Of course I would be fine doing something that is not one hundred percent what I am looking for. Work is important and anything would be better than staying at home. I did not expect that NewBees would find a traineeship that exactly matches my skills and my ambition. That’s why I’m extra happy. I studied at the University of Technology in Iraq and later I went to Beirut (Lebanon) to work at the Arab Printing Press, that is known internationally for the high standard and quality of their printing. It was my dream to work there and I did that for fifteen years. I now do an internship at Kapsenberg van Waesberge three days a week. This is very good to practice my Dutch, to better understand the work culture and to learn the new printing techniques. Everything changes quickly in this profession.”
My colleagues are fond of people who want to learn
“Twelve people work at the printing company. Computer specialists, designers, technicians, account managers, administrative assistants. Most of them have been working here for a long time. Everyone is Dutch, ‘real Rotterdammers’, they even say! My supervisor and my colleagues are fond of people who want to learn, not people who claim they know everything. So, even if I know something, I ask questions because I can always learn more. They help me and give me advice. I feel completely accepted and at my place here.”
Hired right away
“When I came to the Netherlands, I worked as a volunteer at the asylum seekers’ center as a translator for the Dutch Council for Refugees. After 2.5 years I got my residence permit and my long search for a job started. At the beginning of this year, the municipality sent me information about NewBees. I got in touch right away and shortly after I met my matcher Nagham at the office for an intake. It wasn’t long before she found the vacancy at the printing company. I sent my resume and we went together to the job interview. I was hired right away. My internship runs until the end of this year. It would be great if I get a contract for a paid position. It’s my dream. But whatever happens, Kapsenberg van Waesberge is a wonderful name and reference on my CV.”
Thé printing house of Rotterdam
“They call themselves thé printing house of Rotterdam, because for centuries Van Waesberge was the only printer working for the municipality. The company has been around since 1590! I really like the idea of using very modern technology as well as old techniques to achieve special effects. We print everything: business cards, folders, posters, books and also artwork. I am an art lover and I paint. That’s another reason why I like this work so much, printing is art!”
I talk to everyone I meet
“Slowly but surely, step by step, I learn the language and the Dutch system. During the integration process, newcomers sometimes receive support and guidance from organizations such as NewBees. But in the end we have to travel the road ourselves*. Find work, deal with the administration, understand the tax system, build a network, make social connections. I didn’t wait to have a good command of the language before starting to connect with people. I talk to everyone I meet, in English or in Dutch. At the market, in the library, everywhere. I have confidence in my future in the Netherlands, everything will be fine.”
*Mahdi falls under the civic integration system of 2013-2021. This means that he is responsible for his integration. As of January 1st, 2022, the system will change and municipalities will coordinate integration. Read here how NewBees can help municipalities.