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GrensWerk event allows Dutch and German jobseekers to experience the workplace using virtual reality

As part of Die Tolle Woche (The Great Week), the Dutch-German employment office, GrensWerk, travelled around the border region giving students an opportunity to experience the workplace in virtual reality (VR).

Within the GrensWerk motorhome, students and jobseekers could take a virtual look around a number of workplaces using their VR headsets. Users were able to take an immersive tour of Söbbeke organic dairy in Gronau, the Elanko installation company in Heek, at Bolt Transport in Almelo or at Twente Milieu in Hengelo.

Rather than seeing the position in the form of a job advert, people had the opportunity to see what it is like to actually work at these companies. As Michael Paskert from GrensWerk says: “In the end, it doesn’t matter what the position is officially called, it’s all about what you do.”

Their aim was to promote cross-border employment for young Dutch and German jobseekers. Peter Schildkamp, Team Leader at GrensWerk said: “The need for qualified professionals is great, an internship in Madrid is fun, but are you planning to stay there forever? If you do an internship within the German border region, then it is realistic you will get a permanent job”.

“Young Dutch people are quite interested in the German job market, we know this from conversations with students and teachers, but at the same time there is a lack of German language skills.”.

Grenswerk also encourages young Germans to be enthusiastic about working in the Netherlands. Schildkamp added: “It is about moving the labour market, making young Germans interested in working in the Netherlands. There are differences in both work cultures, both have their advantages and disadvantages.”

The campaign, ‘GrensWerk on Tour: Bus2Talent’ travelled around the region, visiting institutions looking to keep talent in the area and prevent people having to rely on benefits. So far, the labour market has been doing well this year. Unemployment in Twente was at 3.2% at the end of the second quarter of 2019 and in Kreis Borken, unemployment was at 3.7% in August.

Grenswerk has also noticed the difference, as stated by Schildkamp, who said: “There are many interesting companies on both sides of the border.

“In 2016 and 2017, we had over a hundred applications from Enschede and the surround area each year from people who were looking for jobs in Germany, almost all were people on benefits. This year we have around 60.”

This is one of the many events happening during The Great Week, a promotion organised by the city of Enschede, the largest Dutch city right on the German border. They aim to promote cross-border collaboration. It lasted from 28th September to 6th October and covered five themes: learning, working, business, security and tourism.

This event takes part during the anniversary of EURES, which is celebrating 25 years of enabling mobility success throughout Europe.


Find out more about The Great Week here.

Find out more about EURES and related European job day events here.


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