Nagham (35) started working at NewBees as an intern in the IT team and six months later became a paid project assistant. She worked as a matcher, programmer, and she organized the IT helpdesk. Since February 15, 23, Nagham coordinates the NewBees team in the Drechtsteden & Rotterdam region that supports 150 newcomers with integration and participation activities. She will expand her top team with at least two employees this year.
Nagham: “I was born in Raqa (Syria) and studied agricultural engineering at the University of Aleppo. Besides my studies I worked as a saleswoman, travel agent, customer service and call center employee. In 2013 I fled to Turkey and in September 2015 I came to the Netherlands where my husband had been waiting for me for a year. My degrees remained in Syria. I decided to take a new direction. Through Hack Your Future, a program for refugees, I had the opportunity to learn coding language . This is how I ended up at NewBees. First as an intern in the IT team and then with a paid job as a project assistant. I first worked in Amsterdam and Zaandam and in December 2019, when the location in Rotterdam opened, I started there. That was handy, because I live with my family in Rotterdam.”
Selected as team coordinator
“In December last year I heard that the position of coordinator in Drechtsteden/Rotterdam was opening up. Dorien Marres, NewBees’ operational director, encouraged me to apply. It was important to me to go through the whole selection process and for NewBees to meet other candidates as well. I didn’t want a privileged treatment. If I was selected it had to be because of my qualities and not because I’ve been with NewBees for years. Of course I was very happy and proud when they chose me.”
“I didn’t want a privileged treatmen. If I was selected it had to be because of my qualities and not because I’ve been with NewBees for years.”
No routine job
“In addition to my work as coordinator of the Drechtsteden/Rotterdam team, I still have IT tasks. I spend about eight hours a week providing training, installing new laptops, troubleshooting IT issues, and testing our CRM system. In addition, I help with Arabic translations of texts from our program. I don’t do routine work and I like that.”
“Managing a team is new to me. It’s exciting and a lot of fun. Everyone on the team has their own duties and responsibilities. I distribute the tasks based on skills, talent, experience, expertise and ambitions. As a manager I try to strengthen and support everyone. Valerie (NewBees Amsterdam) and Helen (NewBees Rotterdam) are my inspiring examples. These excellent managers taught me to work together, to learn from my mistakes and that it’s okay to ask questions.”
“Everyone in the team has their own tasks and responsibilities. I distribute these on the basis of skills, talent, experience, expertise and ambitions.”
Getting Stronger and Better
“During our weekly team meetings, we discuss what is going well and what isn’t. I want to become stronger and better at delegating and dare to address colleagues about their work attitude if not ok. I don’t want to fix things for the others all the time. Now we can manage everything together. But when the team will get bigger and we’ll be given more and more tasks and activities, everyone will have to take their own responsibility. A beautiful and instructive process.”
The new Civic Integration Act is much better than the old one
“I myself fall under the old integration system. I took the ONA (Orientation on the Dutch Labor Market) and KNM (Knowledge of Dutch Society) exams, and the language level B1 state exam. The new Civic Integration Act is much better because people are encouraged to learn the language and participate in society in a fun way.”
“Every day we organize different participation activities: neighborhood safaris, film education programs, theme workshops, matches.”
150 newcomers will integrate via the Z-route in Drechtsteden
“I expect 150 newcomers to integrate in Drechtsteden via the Z-route. In three years they must take 800 hours of language lessons and spend 800 hours on participation activities. NewBees is responsible for 400 participation hours. So far, twenty participants have completed their intake interviews. Every day we organize different participation activities: neighborhood safaris, film education programs, theme workshops, matches. These participation-building blocks, as we call these activities, are in line with the language education available in the municipality is. All our building blocks are modular. We offer each newcomer a tailor-made participation program that matches their talent. There is a lot of work, so I’m looking for new colleagues. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who want to work at NewBees. In the past seven years we have built a reputation as excellent employer.”
In the Drechtsteden region, including municipalities of Alblasserdam, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Dordrecht, Papendrecht, Sliedrecht and Zwijndrecht, NewBees provides participation activities in the Z-route. In addition, NewBees has set up the MDT Drechtsteden especially for newcomers between the ages of 17 and 27. This traineeship is part of Social Service Time.
You can find more information about our activities in the Drechtsteden/Rotterdam region here.
Picture: Mo Alzoabi