Your EURES Advisers: meeting employers by all means possible!
Each June in Odense, central Denmark, a cattle show takes place, bringing farmers and workers in the agriculture sector from far and wide. Jørgen Uldall-Ekman, a EURES Adviser since 1993 based in Odense, thought this would be the perfect opportunity to target employers and spread the idea of recruiting qualified workers from abroad.
Danish agricultural employers often need up to 200 seasonal workers and EURES can help, not only by putting employers and potential workers in contact with each other, but also by answering practical questions. Despite the current financial crisis, the same number of jobs were available in the Danish agricultural sector this year as in other years. However, the EURES Advisers in the region wanted to try out something new and decided to participate in the Odense cattle show, explained Mr Uldall-Ekman.
‘The show lasted for three days and attracted approximately 70,000 visitors in total – 32,000 on the Saturday alone’.
This, therefore, was a great chance for EURES Advisers to meet new employers, and discuss with them the idea of hiring from throughout Europe. ‘We figured a cow would attract their attention! At first I wanted a real cow that we could paint’, says Mr Uldall-Ekman, ‘but this proved difficult to arrange. So, after an internet search, we found the perfect cow, manufactured in Austria but located in Middelfart, 50 kilometres from Odense. It was made out of glass fibre. Everyone thought I was crazy’. Mr Uldall-Ekman and one fellow EURES Adviser made the trip to Middelfart with a caravan that they were sure could transport the cow back to Odense. ‘The cow was one centimetre too big for the caravan! So we had to rent a trailer and pull it, with the cow, back to Denmark. We drove very slowly along the motorway, so the cow got a lot of attention!’
Back in Odense, the cow proved to be just as popular as they had hoped. They covered it with a special EURES 15th Anniversary blanket and a local baker even provided them with small cakes depicting the same EURES 15th Anniversary image, which were disseminated to the press who attended the event.
The show was a success for EURES – approximately 25 new employer contacts were made, which gave rise to the same number of vacancies, and their efforts were reported by a magazine specialising in the agricultural sector. The show also gave the EURES Advisers a chance to catch up with farmers who they hadn't seen in a while – employers who had previously taken advantage of EURES' services.
Danish EURES Advisers are not only active when it comes to meeting new employers – they also like to encourage workers from throughout Europe to come to Denmark for seasonal work. The Seasonal Work in Denmark website, www.seasonalwork.dk, is a space for jobseekers to browse opportunities in Denmark, as well as upload a CV. It makes life easier for employers too, in that contracts can be sent directly from the website – in effect, the website takes care of the entire recruiting process. Since 1 January this year, the website has attracted 22,000 online applications. The website also displays statistics so that advisers can see where the majority of applications are coming from – it seems that Denmark is particularly popular with French, Spanish and Italian workers.
Additionally, Danish EURES Advisers run a special campaign targeting employers, which involves bringing groups to job fairs around Europe in order to encourage them to recruit from abroad. Mr Uldall-Ekman says that it is very important to him and his fellow EURES Advisers to maintain a close cooperation with employers. ‘We want to bring qualified people to Denmark and to encourage employers to recruit from abroad’, he explained. Establishing and maintaining employer contacts is of the utmost importance to the EURES network, and the willingness of many advisers to get creative and branch out beyond normal channels of contact is proof of their dedication.
And what happened to the cow? It is now back, enjoying Middelfart's green fields, but it is expected to return for next year's cattle show in Odense.