Expatica news

Flanders joins industry in immigrant jobs boost

31 March 2006

BRUSSELS — Four business sectors have unveiled concrete plans to help disadvantaged jobless workers (such as immigrants) and lower-educated youths get a job or trainee position.

The four sectors — transport, temping work, relocation companies and the food sector — have received Flemish government support for the project.

The sectors employ or can employ a lot of lower-educated workers. The Flemish government was due to give the green light to the co-operative project later on Friday.

The action plan and government support reflect the workplace diversity policies of Flemish Employment Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

The Socialist SP.A minister is opposed to imposing compulsory measures but is in favour of supporting voluntary efforts aimed at creating jobs for low-educated and long-term jobless workers. A priority is placed on immigrant workers.

The four business sectors have compiled dozens of large and small schemes, such as providing logistical support to technical schools or vocational training offered by the Flemish jobs agency VDAB.

This approach is designed to solve labour shortages in the four industries, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.

Free Dutch lessons will be offered at the workplace and temping agencies will offer computer classes. Sixteen consultants — paid for by the Flemish government — will assist firms to draw up diversity plans.

Some 500 trainee places from technical and vocational schools are to be created and 800 work experience places for the long-term unemployed. The food industry wants to offer trainee courses to 2,000 disadvantaged workers.

The relocation industry aims to have immigrants account for 20 percent of people undergoing trainee courses. The temping industry will deploy special buses to transport labourers to the worksite and hopes to employ an extra 1,125 workers.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news