Flanders simplifies and funds internships to get people into work

The process for people who struggle to enter the labour market, either due to a lack of experience or health issues and social barriers, to apply for a work experience placement in Flanders will be simplified next year.

The region wants to get 80% of those aged 20 to 64 into work and has taken various steps in recent months to this end. This includes a "work bonus" for employees with lower wages and renewed calls on employers to be more flexible . However, the group that is "furthest from the labour market" was the hardest to involve.

While various forms of workplace learning do exist to help these people transition into employment, they often struggle to "see the wood for the trees" when applying for these, as the framework was fragmented. Flemish Work Minister Jo Brouns has now launched one broader framework of workplace learning.

6.500 jobseekers

With this plan, 6,500 jobseekers with what is called a "greater distance to the labour market" will be able to access the revamped work experience apprenticeship system from the start of next year.

The renewed framework aims to "lower the threshold to take up workplace learning" while offering more possibilities to the employment centre VDAB and organisations willing to offer workplace learning in their own way. "An absolute win-win, therefore," Brouns stated.

"Everyone benefits from simple and targeted services. We can now use the work experience internship to help even more people take steps towards employment by gaining experience on the shop floor," Wim Adriaens, managing director of VDAB, said.

Such traineeships help jobseekers strengthen their skills by learning to cooperate, communicate and plan, but it also provides them with recent work experience that can be added to their CV. Aside from this practical support, jobseekers will be given €200 gross per month when in a full-time placement.


#FlandersNewsService | Minister Jo Brouns ​ ©BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM


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