Students, employers meet up to discuss job opportunities

Some sixtyfive students and young professionals of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire and Saba attended the “Connecting back home” event in The Hague on Saturday to meet up with employers and organisations from the islands.

The participants at Saturday’s WeConnect meet-up in The Hague. (Photo by Valerie Kuypers)

The successful and inspiring event was organised by WeConnect Foundation, an organisation with an educational purpose for Dutch Caribbean students and young professionals, and the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK.

The objective of the event was to better connect the ambitions of the Dutch Caribbean students and young professionals living in the Netherlands with the labour market on the islands. Many graduates long to return home, but are faced with obstacles such as finding a suitable job, one that earns enough to repay their study debts.

Employers were happy to present themselves at Saturday’s event. Several law offices, accountant’s bureaus, educational institutions, the technical sector, health care institutions, the Kingdom Government Service of the Caribbean Netherlands RCN and the technical research institute TNO showed up at the meet-up or sent their vacancies.

“I have met a lot of motivated candidates this afternoon, who were surprised about the possibilities that exist. Demand and supply have to be better connected. This meetup is a positive contribution to that,” said Judith Brekelmans of TEAM Bonaire, which represents multiple employers from Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The meet-up provided the students and young professionals with ample opportunity to network with many of them asking about the possibilities of internship or a job. “This event was different from the others that I have attended because the employers were truly interested in us, and they were very approachable,” said student Joël Candelaria from Curaçao.

Tour operator TUI was present with a colourful stand and raffled an airline ticket among the students. A student from Aruba was the lucky winner of the ticket to go “back home.” TV/radio anchor woman Milouska Meulens, who hails from Curaçao, shared her experiences of returning home.

The Ministries of BZK and Education, Culture and Science OCW supported the event. A representative of the BZK Ministry gave a presentation on the talent development programme in Bonaire, a trajectory that helps youngsters and recently-returned graduates to further develop their skills. The study financing organisation DUO of the OCW Ministry was at hand to provide information.

The recent publication of the report: We are deeply rooted by consultancy firm and training facility PBLQ was the main reason for organising Saturday’s meet-up. PBLQ interviewed more than 400 Dutch Caribbean students and some 70 employers on the islands about the situation of the islands’ labour market, the desire to return home and the associated challenges.

The Daily Herald.

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