Belgian army to train young people to fight labour shortage
The Belgian Defense ministry and the major industrial sectors are joining forces to get more young people to work, with the 'Reboot4You' project. They signed a cooperation agreement on Thursday 7 July.
For Defense minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS), this is an "unpublished, historic" cooperation agreement. She pointed out that currently some 300,000 young people have no job, education or experience, while both the Defense ministry and companies are looking for people.
The army wants to recruit 10,000 people during this term of office. "It is therefore a potentially huge pool of talent, which is often forgotten," said the minister.
With the cooperation agreement, Defense and the industry want to give young people a first work experience and follow a mutually recognized training.
The ministry of Defense will look for the young people through local youth organizations, will provide the support and introduce the young people to military life. The industrial partners will be responsible for the specialized training. After that, they can either embark on a "classic career" at Defense or within the partner companies.
Soldiers from the reserve could also divide their labor between the army and the private sector, a "sharing of the workforce" or a "win-win-win for the employees of the private, for Defense and 'last but not least' the employees from the reserve", as Dedonder put it.
"We are looking for the same profiles, so we have to work together to find them, train them and offer them a professional career in a company or within Defense," said the minister.
According to her, the increased recruitment and the future 'collective service' that the army launched at the end of 2020, "are all opportunities to discover the different professions within Defense and the partner sectors".
The project is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 24. The aim is to offer young people "the necessary basis and competences to start or continue their career", according to the minister.
"At the same time, our classic recruits will also be able to benefit from the training of our partners from the corporate world."
Various sectors are involved in the cooperation agreement, such as construction, the catering industry, the temporary employment sector, catering and mobility.
One of the partners is Constructiv, a sector fund within the construction industry. "We are urgently looking for people. There are 20,000 vacancies," said Gianni De Vlaminck, President of Constructiv. "We want to offer people the opportunity to receive training, and to receive them if they see no future at the Ministry of Defense."
Other partners are Traxio, Renta and Mobia from the mobility sector, Febiac and the Royal Automobile Club Belgium (RACB) from the automotive sector, Sodexo from the hospitality industry, Federgon from HR services and Constructiv and ACGG from construction.
The Belgian King Philippe received Dedonder and the representatives of the sectors this morning, before they signed the agreement.
"The king attaches great importance to this issue and is curious about the results," said the minister.
Dedonder also emphasized that the army "wants to play its role of social lift", "to offer everyone a chance". "Together, with our mutual training, I think we can offer added value, a perspective, a future to these young people," she said.
© BELGA PHOTO (HATIM KAGHAT) Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder signing the Reboot4You cooperation agreement, in Brussels.