WinWin project guides engineers back to labour market


Flanders has about 4,000 vacancies for engineers, but there are still more than 2,000 engineers looking for work, a discrepancy a new trial project hopes to change

Free training and coaching

Flemish labour minister Philippe Muyters has presented the WinWin project, which will provide extra training to engineers who have been unemployed for a year or more. The minister announced the launch of the trial project yesterday at Audi Brussel together with University of Leuven rector Luc Sels and Fons Leroy, the managing director of Flemish employment and training agency VDAB.

In August of last year, the VDAB database had nearly 4,000 vacancies for engineers, while at the same time more than 2,200 engineers were looking for a job. One-third of those engineers had been unemployed for more than a year, and more than one-third were older than 50.

The WinWin trial will put nine work-seeking engineers in a four- to six-month training programme in a company like Audi to update their competences and adjust them to the needs of the labour market. “We want to bring them closer to what an employer expects from an engineer,” said Muyters in a statement. “That’s a win-win situation, for the engineer who gets back to work and for the Flemish economy.”

The selected engineers will also receive coaching from the five Flemish universities. The training itself is free, and the participants keep their unemployment benefits for the duration.

If the evaluation of it is positive, the project will be extended. There is already funding earmarked for the programme for four years.