Wednesday, May 24, 2023 – Twente experienced a unique day on Tuesday, May 23rd. A group of 40 refugees with residence permits, who are in the final stages of acquiring a Dutch passport, participated in a unique company tour. The event, jointly organized by Culture Kitchen Foundation, Aqua+, Niverplast, Pentas, and ROC of Twente, aimed to strengthen the connection between these newcomers and local businesses.
The day began at ROC van Twente, where the refugees boarded the bus together. The first company the participants visited was Pentas in Almelo, followed by a visit to Aqua+ in Goor. The lunch break was spent at Eet- en werkcafé Kleurrijk in Nijverda, a restaurant that works closely with Culture Kitchen Foundation to give refugees a chance to gain work experience in the hospitality industry. The tour concluded with a visit to Niverplast in Nijverdal.
Strengthening Connection between Companies and Refugees This event marked a significant step in reinforcing the connection between refugees and the local labor market. It demonstrated the willingness of Twente businesses to embrace diversity and gave the refugees insight into their potential future in the region. The event illustrates the collective efforts of local businesses, educational institutions, and foundations to foster the integration of refugees into the Twente community. Through their involvement and openness, they hope to provide a warm welcome to the refugees and assist them in finding their place in the Twente labor market.
“With this tour, we want to show that we welcome and appreciate refugees. We want to lower the threshold and give them a glimpse into the Twente labor market,” said Marthijn Koorn, director of Pentas.
Aqua+ in Goor, a company specializing in fire protection systems, also opened their doors. “We believe in pooling resources and celebrating diversity. Not only within our walls but beyond as well. That’s why we have established the Rudolf Walhof Foundation, named after my grandfather, with which we launch initiatives in the field of refugee aid for a better world,” said director Bas-Jan Walhof.
During the lunch at Kleurrijk, the participants got a taste of how the Culture Kitchen Foundation offers refugees a chance to work in the hospitality industry and gain work experience. After lunch, the tour continued to Niverplast. Richard Nieuwenhuis, from Niverplast, highlighted the value of diversity in their international company and their pursuit of happy colleagues. “We consider qualifications and degrees less important. With this visit, we want to show that if you really want to, you can achieve a lot,” said Richard Nieuwenhuis.
ROC of Twente played a crucial role in the event, not only as the starting point of the tour but also through their involvement in the preparation and support of the refugees. “It is crucial to bridge the gap between refugees and the local labor market. This event is a beautiful way to show them the opportunities that Twente has to offer,” said Edwin Kamp from ROC of Twente.
The participants were enthusiastic about the tour and the opportunity to learn more about the Twente companies. “I hope I can get a job as a driver,” said one of the participants. Another participant added: “I am interested in all three companies, but I have to see which one I like best.”
“The goal is to promote the integration of refugees into the Dutch labor market,” said Marieke van der Vliet, director of Culture Kitchen Foundation. “We are pleased to see that Twente businesses are opening their doors and welcoming newcomers.”