From an internship to a paid job as a solar panel installer

Ahmad fled Syria, spent a year in several refugee camps in Greece and came to the Netherlands in March 2017, following his sister who arrived two years earlier with her husband and children. Ahmad lives in the quiet neighborhood of Prins Alexander, east of Rotterdam and enjoys it very much. In Syria he also lived outside the city, far from the crowds. During his first four years in the Netherlands, Ahmad was unemployed and became depressed. As soon as his NewBees traineeship started, his complaints disappeared.

Work makes me happy

“I started looking for work immediately after arriving in the Netherlands. I went to employment agencies, the municipality, everywhere. I asked each person I met if they could help me find a job. Volunteering, in construction, I didn’t care. For four years I was unemployed and that was very bad for me. I became sad, frustrated, depressed. Doctors and pills are no cure for me. Work is. As soon as I started working, all my complaints disappeared. Work helps me to think less about the past and my worries. The routine and structure give me peace of mind. Waking up early, going to work, coming home, showering, eating, watching a little television, calling my family and going to bed. And the next day the same. Work is good for me. It makes me happy.”

“Through work I meet new people, mostly Dutch people. My colleagues want to get to know me and they are always open to all my questions. I feel welcome.”

Through family in contact with NewBees

“My sister lives in Gouda with her husband and three children. She discovered NewBees on Facebook and sent me the link to the website. After submitting my application online, I met matcher Nagham for a first interview. Nagham is incredibly patient and very understanding. I also like that she speaks Arabic. She is a newcomer herself and understands me well. For weeks I called her almost daily to ask if she had news about a traineeship or a job. Until two months ago, when she called to ask me if I was interested in an internship at Wattco, a company specializing in solar panels. Of course, I was! In Syria I worked with solar energy at my father’s company, which specialized in hot water. So I have a little bit of experience in this sector, and Nagham knew that. During our meetings, I told her everything about my skills, my wishes and ambition. With her help and advice, I wrote my resume and cover letter. Wattco invited me for an interview. Together with Lisette, Nagham’s colleague at NewBees, I went there and met John, the company’s director. Everything went well: the interview, the communication and the click with John. I could start right away: a two months internship for three days a week.”

I feel welcome

“Almost all my colleagues are Dutch. We talk a lot and that’s good for me. I took language lessons and achieved level A2 integration, but that is not enough. You have to practice a language. Work is therefore important, to improve my Dutch and also to create social contacts. So far I have mainly Arab friends, I don’t speak Dutch with them. Through work I meet new people most of them are Dutch. My colleagues want to get to know me and they are always open to all my questions. I feel welcome.”

I like to learn. Now I can even drive a forklift truck

“In Syria I studied administration and had various jobs. Salesman, designer, installer of solar panels. Before the war, solar energy was hardly used anywhere in Syria. Now it is. The systems, the regulations and the buildings are different here, but the basics for installation are the same. During my internship at Wattco I learned a lot. All the different installation techniques that are used here, and also driving a forklift truck in the warehouse.”

From internship to a paid job

“When my internship period was almost over, John offered me a contract for a paid job at Wattco. I’m so happy! My family and friends are proud of me. In the coming years I want to become an expert in installing solar panels. I also want to get my driver’s license. I have already passed the theory test. Now I take driving lessons and prepare for the exam. I would like to buy a car because by public transport it takes me close to two hours to get to work. While it is only thirty minutes by car. Step by step my dream is becoming reality and I am becoming happier.”

Impact first!

At NewBees, we measure the impact of the ultimate effect of our work on all stakeholders involved. On participants such as Ahmad, but also on companies where traineeships take place, on the NewBees organisation itself, on the government and on society as a whole. You will find here our integrated annual report 2020 with extensive explanation and all the results of our impact measurement.

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