- Annemiek Dresen, Founder & Director, NewBees
- Karim Bin-Humam, Co-Founder & Director of Operations, Skilllab
VIDEO: NewBees Impact NL
Introduction to the project
Newbees: Founding in January 2016. Current Project has been ongoing since founding.
Skilllab: Founding in January 2018. Current Project since 2019.
The approach detailed in this good practice aims to improve sustainable employment outcomes and thereby contribute to holistic social integration of refugees adapting to life in a new host country. It aims to do this by:
Empowering refugees to take control and ownership of their career trajectory on the basis of their own unique talents and skill sets.
Reducing the barriers of trust for local employers readily able to hire from a powerful refugee talent pool, but struggling to access and navigate that source of talent.
Providing state-of-the-art competency profiling and matching tools for employment service providers to enhance the effectiveness of their services vis-à-vis refugee labour market integration.
NewBees and Skilllab both leverage financial resources in the form of public and private grants and contracts to develop and provide refugee skill profiling and opportunity-matching technology to refugees, employers and employment service providers, as well as direct engagement with employers to provide traineeships to newcomers.
Technologically, this approach leverages custom developed software specifically designed to capture newcomers’ unique talents, ambitions and skill sets using EU-recognized skills and competency framework. This award winning software uses AI-based interviews, as well as matching algorithms that link individuals to opportunities that match their unique profiles.
NewBees and Skilllab manage to combine this award-winning technology with real-life encounters between refugees and employers through traineeships that allow for people to practice and discover their unique skills.
- City of Amsterdam
- Impact Institute
Challenges and how they were overcome
Challenges encountered in delivering this approach to stakeholders in the Netherlands have included:
Cultural barriers that prevent local employers from engaging directly with refugee communities – often due to lack of familiarity and information regarding those communities’ skills and talents.
Lack of recognition by employers and employment services of foreign-earned certifications and degrees, or informally acquired skills (for example skills earned during community service or through subsistence-based livelihoods)
How they were overcome
By providing newcomers with tailored personal profiles that relate their skills and knowledge to the local market, giving support and training in self-marketing for employment, as well as engaging directly with employers as intermediaries, we empower perspective employees to more effectively present themselves to employers in a manner which reduces the challenge of trust.
By using skill profiling and occupation matching technology that encompasses the breadth of European industries and demanded skill sets, as well as practical and monitored participation on the work floor through traineeships, we enable refugees to find opportunities to work in fields that are related to their skill sets even if they are not the certification-heavy occupation they may have previously held. This enables newcomers to leverage their skill set in related opportunities while deciding whether to obtain locally recognized certifications.
VIDEO: ESCO and the Digital Labour Market
Results of the Good Practice
- Refugees enjoy faster and more sustainable employment as a result of employment matching based on their unique individual characters, ambitions and skillsets.
- This has been proven to increase newcomers’ overall well-being (including financial security, mental and physical health, and social integration).
- Local employers are better able to access and draw from an often invisible and untapped talent pool in the form of refugee talent.
- Employment service providers make use of modern technologies to capture and match refugee skillsets to the right labour market opportunities for them, increasing their effectiveness, sustainable employability outcomes, and reducing burdens on public resources.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
The good practice in question – namely providing individualized employment support services for newcomers in a host country on the basis of highly detailed talent data for better employment matching – contributes largely to two GCR objectives:
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
Resource-strained public services often struggle to provide effective integration services to refugees, and this is particularly true with regards to employment support services. Refugee communities face outsized challenges that public institutions struggle to account for. These include overcoming language barriers and cultural challenges, such as relating education and employment experiences of newcomers in their countries of origins to their new host country’s labour market, resulting in higher unemployment and less job security for refugees.
Using scalable yet personalized skill profiling and matching algorithms specifically designed to tackle these specific challenges, equips service providers with the tools to provide better and more efficient services to this unique target group, reducing time-to-employment, increasing the chances for sustainable employment, and ultimately reducing financial and technical burdens on host countries resulting from the reliance on social benefits.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
Adjusting to life in a new host country as a refugee is extremely daunting. It is well documented that access to meaningful and sustainable employment, as well as participating in society, is an absolutely critical pillar of financial and social self-reliance for newcomers. Those who are able to find employment opportunities that match their personal skillsets and ambitions experience greater financial security, mental and physical health, and less reliance upon public and social services.
Providing employment and training matching services that focus first on an individual’s unique talents, skills and ambitions, translating those to their new host country’s labour market conditions to match them to the right opportunities for them increases wellbeing, as well as the likelihood of sustainable and upwardly mobile employment.
Leveraging the latest artificial intelligence technologies, alongside allowing people to show skills on the local workfloor, to capture a newcomer’s talents and skills in granular detail and map those to host country labour market conditions empowers newcomers to capture, own, and translate their unique talents to local conditions and find the right opportunities for them, regardless of their past experiences or countries of origin.
While both NewBees and Skilllab have been implementing projects with public institutions in the Netherlands and proving the concept of talent-based employment and traineeship matching, the next steps for both organisations include working to systematically integrate this approach into public policies at both the local and national level.
Starting 2021, new integration laws in the Netherlands will come into effect, resulting in Dutch municipalities taking over the responsibility for local integration of refugees. As city officials are preparing for this task, several pilots are organised and financed by the national government to discover best practices and successful projects that can be integrated in the new policy. Skilllab and NewBees are among the best practices that are being evaluated and tested in 2019 and 2020. With the national exposure this provides, NewBees and Skilllab will assure a systemic integration of talent-based tools and methodologies into public policies.