Integration+ pilot of Region Hart van Brabant
Celebrating the progress of the Integration+ pilot.
On the 28th of June 2021, Region Hart van Brabant celebrated progress to date of the Inburgering+ (Integration+) pilot.
The pilot focuses on the migrant as individual with skills and a contribution; this is a key starting point in fostering this inclusive, positive and open space for mutual growth and sustainable integration.
Mayor of Oisterwijk, Mr. Hans Janssen launched the virtual event and welcomed an audience of 150 people from across the Netherlands who tuned in to learn more about the innovative integration approaches of Region Hart van Brabant. Breaking with the tradition of standard webinar style events, the hosts took the audience on a virtual tour of the region using mix virtual presentation formats, while providing engaging and inspiring “lessons learned” from the pilot’s progress thus far. Guest speaker, Dr Elena Ponzoni, Researcher at the Vrij University of Amsterdam (Department of Sociology) spoke of the negative narratives that currently exist towards migrants and migration. She highlighted the importance of combatting this narrative and of focusing on migrants’ talents and skills instead. According to Ponzoni, only when we as a society are confronted with this negative reflex and when we acknowledge the detrimental effects of misguided perceptions on inclusive integration, will change be possible.
Since the launch in 2020, the Inburgering+ pilot of Region Hart van Brabant has supported 150 migrants through two key phases of their integration, both of which provide personalized paths toward integration by working with the strengths and interests of the individual participant:
- Intake traject: an introduction to life and work in the Netherlands. Activities include building a personal integration timeline, attending workshops, meeting with their personal coach of the Refugee Team;
- Orientation traject: assistance and supervision during work/internship/volunteering experience relevant to personal career ambitions. Activities include attending language classes that relate to the work experience and career ambitions, weekly meetings with all pilot participants and coaches for experience exchange, attendance to additional workshops.
Findings of an external evaluation of the Inburgering+ pilot – conducted by the research institute Verwey Jonker – were announced at the virtual event, which ultimately concluded that Inburgering+ is achieving great successes. Positive results include participants’ increased self-confidence, stimulation to improve their Dutch language skills, the acquisition of practical and soft skills, the enhancement of their social network and a better understanding of Dutch society. Upon completion activities in the two phases, Verwey Jonker reported that participants unanimously possessed more positive attitude and vision toward their future. Notably, participants felt motivated and empowered to continue to work toward their own personal and professional integration goals. Hart van Brabant celebrates this recognition that integration is a personal journey for the migrant individual, and not just about ticking administrative boxes. Following the positive outcome from the external evaluation, as well as positive feedback from the migrant participants, the year 2022 will see the pilot graduate from its pilot status to become a streamlined programme within the new integration structure of the Region.
Photo: duaal traject Refugee Team (Pulles @ & Pulles)
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