The WeConnect foundation will receive an annual subsidy until 2027, for the support of Caribbean students and starters on the labour market. In 2023, it concerns an amount of about 200,000 euros. The Netherlands is making this amount available through the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, to help students and starters get started after their studies in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. This is badly needed because there is a great need for professionals on the islands.
Students coming from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom face major challenges. Socially, financially and culturally. After their studies, Caribbean starters in the labour market often stay in the Netherlands to work. This is often more attractive, partly because wages in the Caribbean are relatively low, while starters have often accumulated a high study debt.
Moreover, employers and potential employees often find it difficult to find each other, due to the perceived distance between the European Netherlands and the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. As a result, starters often have difficulty entering the Caribbean labour market. The latter is an important cause of the capacity problems faced by governments in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
State Secretary of the Interior, Alexandra van Huffelen: “It is important that we pay attention to this group of students and starters. For their own future, but also to strengthen the islands. During my visits to the islands, I have seen that the governments have a great need for good professionals. And that is why we want to make it more attractive for people to go back and work for their native island.”
The WeConnect Foundation aims to connect the Caribbean with the European Netherlands through among others, educational projects. They are committed to promoting the study success and the well-being of Caribbean students in the Netherlands. They do this by providing them with a network, budget training, meetings and information at schools in the Caribbean, among other things. The foundation also encourages entry-level workers to work in the Caribbean, thus strengthening the official implementation power of the islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.