A group of nine Eritrean students from ROC Friese Poort are taking part in a work experience programme from public transportation company Arriva in Leeuwarden.
Translation by Traci White
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that it is just a coincidence that the team currently consists exclusively of Eritrean trainees, and the students are learning a range of service related skills, from cleaning the trains to providing information to lost passengers, at the Leeuwarden train station.
The programme is an opportunity for the students, who have been enrolled at ROC Friese Poort since September, to get to know the labour market, become better connected to society and improve their chances of finding paid work.
Arriva, whose headquarters are in Heerenveen, says that the programme is not the same as formal employment, but similar programmes elsewhere in the Netherlands have seen trainees eventually join the companies where they did their work experience position.
Arriva employs around 5,500 people nationwide, including 230 people who may otherwise struggle to find work due to disability, their ethnic background or having been unemployed for a long period of time.
According to a report in the Social Plan Bureau published in 2018, many Eritrean people have a hard time finding their way in the Netherlands. NRC reports that between 2014 and 2017, 17,000 Eritreans requested asylum in the Netherlands, nearly 75 percent of which are younger than 30 years old. Second to Syrian people, Eritreans are the second largest group of newcomers to the country. The Guardian writes that hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have sought asylum across Europe in recent years due to “repression, violence and paranoia” in the east African nation.