MEET Gert. Our matcher in Zaanstad. He has lived in the Zaan region since ’88 and therefore knows it like no other. As the end of working life came closer and closer, the question grew whether the work he did was still what he wanted to continue doing.
Gert: “From day 1 I have had a great time at NewBees. It is such a warm environment. When I talk to friends about NewBees, they always mention how I immediately start to radiate. It is a pity that an organization like this is so special, it should be the standard.”
“Or do I want to do something that matters. And if you ask that question, you actually already have the answer.”
What makes NewBees so special?
“The team is gold. If there is something and I call colleagues, the table will be empty within two minutes and there is plenty of time and space to discuss whatever is on my mind. Everyone trusts and supports each other, with some healthy criticism. We also have diverse teams. I learn daily from my colleagues who have come to the Netherlands for a new start. For example, it was my birthday lately and in the Netherlands you take cake with you when it is your birthday. My colleagues brought cake for me. They didn’t understand: “But it’s your birthday, so why would you have to treat us?” Then I realize, well, why do we do it that way? We can laugh about that together. I enjoy and learn from them every day.”
“In addition, it is the drive and common goal that we share at NewBees, the DNA. To do something that matters, a passion for people. The moment I fell for NewBees was when Annemiek told me in 5 minutes why she does what she does. Other companies are always about money, numbers and it has to be fast, fast, fast. Of course the numbers are also of value to us, but really of minor importance. What we do and what we have meant to someone is what comes first. Better 5 very good matches than 15 less.”
What is a good quality match?
“20% of the newcomers will manage, even without our help. For another 20% it might not work out in this point in time, but no less than 60% can use our help well”. The place we match them with is not necessarily the place where someone can pick up their career where they left it in their home country. But it is certainly not the place where we put people just for the sake of putting them somewhere.”
“I really want to arrange good quality places. I find it quite difficult to match someone who ran a factory in Damascus with 75 employees as the youngest employee of a small workshop. Then it is best to dive into prestige. I understand that this is very difficult and that not everyone who wants or can make that bow for the new life. I respect that. You have already left so much and then you are be asked to do that as well.”
But nothing is as important as the first step. Because after the first step, the second step comes, and so on. And that’s how you get there eventually. But you have to start somewhere. “There was an Uitmarkt in Zaanstad where we matched 12 newbees. Together – young, old, male, female, lawyer or not – they all provided services to host the event. For example, there was a Syrian caterer with snacks and friends came over to the event to support him. This created a nice mix of newcomers and ‘oldcomers’ (or Zaankanters). So nice to see. Then you will also see that carrying tables together in a market also has added value and that you also get appreciation for that.
A qualitative place for every newcomer
So we look for a qualitative place for every motivated newcomer. A place where you get to know others, where you can practice Dutch and where you don’t feel burdened by a language or spelling mistake here and there, but above all a place where you want to take the first step and where you may even take the second step afterwards.