Colourful Brabant Works
As the annual conference in 2009 was in integration of migrant youth and the first EUKN dossier which will be published in the near future will be on integration, EUKN has chosen the first practice of the month to be an integration/social cohesion project.
Colourful Brabant Works is a very inspirational project
aiming to empower youngsters with a migrant background to make
better choices regarding their future. Through the formation of
promotion teams, predominantly migrant youngsters gain experience
with professional situations and gain the skills and capacities to
become good professionals. The intercultural meetings and events
organised by the promotion teams, remove prejudices and barriers
between migrant youngsters and their (future) employees. The
project improves the possibilities for a succesful education and
career for youngsters with a migrant background in the Netherlands
The province of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands and especially
some of the cities of the province (Oss, Helmond, Den Bosch, Breda,
Waalwijk, Tilburg and Veghel) have for some time been looking at
ways to integrate young migrants better into society and to enable
them to find their right place on the labour market. Next to the
more usual social institutions, the cities were looking for more
innovative ways to reach their goals. In cooperation with PSW
employment consultancy and Palet diversity consultants, the
province Noord-Brabant the project started the Colourful Brabant
Works in 2005 as one of the results of this search.
The socio-economic background of migrant youngsters in the
Netherlands has made it harder for them to find their right place
in society and on the labour market. This development has multiple
negative results for this particular group.
a relatively large part of this group leaves school without a diploma, making it harder to find a good job and contributing to society in a positive way;
a large percentage of this group was not able to find work after completing their education, because they had no clear view of what they wanted to do with their lives;
the way this group was viewed upon by employers became more and more negative, resulting in even greater difficulties to find a good job.
The end result which spurred the province of Noord-Brabant to act upon was a large group of youngsters with a negative view of the society in which they live and making them reluctant to contribute to society.
Colourful Brabant Works (CBW) is a project financed by the
province of Brabant. CBW aims to enable young people, especially
young people of migrant background, a better and more positive view
on their (professional) future. Through forming multi-cultural
promotion groups in all participating cities, youngsters not only
meet each other and exchange experiences, they also organise and
attend useful and promotional activities and events. Through
exchanging experience, taking part in the group process, attending
and organising meetings and events, the members of the promotion
groups gain (semi-) professional experience.
The promotion teams do not only gain professional experience, they also meet their future employers. The intercultural exchange is also an important part of the project. Through the past decade, the view of employers of migrants as employees has deteriorated. Through meeting young migrants, the view of possible employers upon this group has improved a lot.
Through participating in a promotion team, the (migrant)
youngsters, gain positive experiences in a (semi-) professional
setting. They learn to organise events, they acquire leadership
capabilities and through the events and meeting they attend the
gain insights in the possibilities they have after completing their
education. The promotion teams serve as inspiration and motivation
for the youngsters to make the right choices for their future.
On the other hand, the promotion teams meet with possible employers. Through a positive contact with the promotion teams, it is aimed to change the view of future employers upon the group of youngsters with a migrant background as a whole.
The project has had good results, which is one of the reasons that it is still very actively implemented and expanding in the province of Noord-Brabant. Colourful Brabant Works has made migrant youth more aware of the importance of getting a diploma, their own skills and capacities and gave them a much clearer view of what they want to do with their own future. The project empowers youngster to take their future in their own hands.
The main lesson which was learned is not to have one background
of migrants dominating the group as a whole. A mix of different
cultures within the promotion teams works best. Also, face-to-face
contact between the project coordinators and the project
participants is valued very highly.
In 2008, the project was selected as a winning story by the
Equal fund. Because of this, it was granted a place on the Equal
conference in Lissabon. On this conference the 60 projects which
were selected as winning stories, from a total of 2000 projects,
The main resources come from the province of Noord-Brabant. The
project has also been awarded money from the equal fund of the
5200 BG 's-Hertogenbosch
Phone: 0031 73 612 43 25
Rombout Jas (senior advisor)
Project start date