'I just signed a full-time employment contract!'
Ali is also happy. In September, he signed an employment contract with the IT company responsible for the inventory management at the company Delhaize. Ali was born in Iraq where he worked as an industrial engineer. In 2015, he fled with his family to Belgium.
'The first months were really difficult because we had no papers and I did not have a recognised degree. Fortunately, I spoke a little English and I was able to make myself useful as a translator for people who only spoke Arabic.'
Ali registered for a course in Dutch and made an appointment at the Flemish Employment and Training Service. 'They referred me to Randstad for guidance with the @level2work organisation. I had to take some technical tests because Belgium did not recognise my degree. Elene from RiseSmart arranged three job interviews for me and gave me useful job application tips, such as giving practical examples to explain what I could do. She also looked for a technical course for me about European engineering standards.'
The internship at UZ Ghent that followed was an ideal way for Ali to practice his new language and engineering skills. And, he will soon have a full-time job.
'I tell my companions in adversity to keep on trying. My diary was brimming with appointments in the first seven months. Because I knew that at some point, I'd get the interview that lands me a new job.'