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Supporting jobseekers to find careers in their country of choice

Through the support of a project called the Jobseekers Club, 12 jobseekers from the Netherlands and France had the opportunity to take part in workshops that prepared them for working and living abroad.

This brand-new initiative was jointly set up by EURES France and EURES the Netherlands during the 25th anniversary of EURES.

Kevin Sikma, EURES Adviser in the Netherlands, said: “From the start, we set a goal. We said to ourselves ‘What do we want to achieve? Is it about employers, jobseekers, do we want to fill vacancies or do we want to make people more comfortable in making the move from one country to another?’

“It’s quite a big step to take, especially when you go to a certain country in which you’ve only visited as a holiday. When you have a certain image of that country, actually living and working there turns out to be quite different.”

In order to recruit participants, the project coordinators conducted a refined search for specific groups. They contacted jobseekers planning to make the move between the Netherlands and France, and vice versa, within a certain timeframe. They also targeted those who were using unemployment benefits.

“We didn’t look at age or gender. We looked at language skills and, in order to make the group interact better, we picked people with an educational degree similar to each other and backgrounds that would match.”

The participants were brought together using Adobe Connect. Over the course of two months, the jobseekers took part in six workshops. The workshops in question focused on a range of topics relevant to the jobseekers, from what it’s like to live and work in the two countries, practical tips for writing a CV and using LinkedIn to search and apply for jobs, as well as hearing first-hand from employers who are experienced in recruiting international candidates.

Sharing knowledge and experiences was a key part of the sessions. EURES Advisers encouraged jobseekers to share their stories as a way to connect and learn from each other – something that was particularly useful during the LinkedIn session. Kevin explained: “LinkedIn is widely used in the Netherlands and it’s something that employers use to look for qualified staff, but it’s not widely known in France.

“The Dutch shared their experiences with LinkedIn and the French shared their experiences with their platforms that they use, so it was good to see the back and forth and what worked and what doesn’t work in that country when you are looking for a job.”

Now that the project has ended, the jobseekers will be awarded individual certificates of participation as a thank you for being a part of the very first Jobseekers Club.

Despite the project being over, EURES Advisers are still providing opportunities for the participants to connect and collaborate by adding them to a private LinkedIn group. With the hope that more Jobseekers Clubs will be implemented in different countries during 2020, the aim is for the group to become a marketplace of information for jobseekers that want to move country.

“We want this network to keep growing because part of the idea is to offer the participants ways to start their international network,” Kevin said. “We want to make them experienced advocates of the country they might want to move to.”

Looking towards the New Year, there are already countries outside of France and the Netherlands hoping to get involved. Kevin said: “We will probably start a version with Norway next year if everything comes together, we will do another session with France and we’ve had interest from Portugal and Ireland.

“We are very excited about this cooperation and it came from working together with a common goal for both countries, there’s a reciprocity there and it’s a great way to inform people about the opportunities in different parts of Europe.”


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