03 December 2018 ... min read Listen

ING partners with UAF

It’s very healthy to look beyond our everyday environment for once.

Supporting the ambitions of highly skilled refugees.

In early September 2016 ING signed a partnership agreement with UAF, a foundation that promotes the social integration of highly skilled refugees in the Netherlands. Danielle van Rieven, Sector Head Telecom Media Tech and Services within Corporate Clients in the Netherlands, has been involved in this project from the start. She is a fervent advocate of the initiative and she is delighted to see that so many of her colleagues already share her enthusiasm. ‘Let’s look beyond our own everday environment for once’.

Danielle: ‘This partnership enables us to assist highly skilled refugees. The people in question have received a good education in their home country and then, for whatever reason, have ended up in the Netherlands. They are extremely motivated to set to work again as soon as posisble, to continue to develop personally and professionally, and to build a new life for themselves. Even though they’ve already obtained a degree in their home country and have worked at graduate level, they’re making the effort to continue learning. For me, it goes without saying that we should try to help these people achieve their ambitions. At the same time, it challenges us to look beyond our everyday environment for once. For ING, this is one of the ways that we can concretise our involvement in wider society. It enables us to make our ambition of “Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and business” extremely tangible.’

Knowledge and understanding

‘I’m personally very interested in the work of UAF and I’ve noticed that my colleagues are just as enthusiastic. I’m happy that this partnership helps us to get to know people from other cultures better and to gain an understanding of the situation that they’ve ended up in. An open mind is always an asset, including in your working life. After all, society is very diverse and so too are ING’s customers.’

Both happy

‘My call for mentors generated so many fantastic replies, complete with letters of motivation and explanations of people’s reasons. We’ve received more registrations for the mentorship than we need, but that’s no problem because it’s a two-year partnership so we’ll soon have new people in need of guidance. We’re starting with ten mentors who have been paired up with the students based on age, interests and UAF’s advice. The students are all quite close to finishing their studies and will be entering the job market shortly. They’ve all got a background in finance/economics. Mentors and students will soon be regularly meeting up one on one, spending time together and learning from one another through discussion. The student receives insights into how life works in terms of Dutch society and culture, as well as advice on things like applying for jobs and networking. But the mentor stands to learn just as much. This partnership must add value for both sides; it should make both of them happy.’

Working together for a common cause

Another nice thing about this initiative is that it brings together different parts of the bank and we’re working for a common cause. The ‘ING Nederland fonds’makes a financial contribution and provides access to knowledge and expertise. Human Resources arranges all kinds of training courses such as for LinkedIn, networking, CVs and job applications. During the graduation party for 200 UAF students, HR is holding a workshop on “How to position myself in the job market”. And the UAF students are also invited to various ING events. My team, which itself is very diverse, has been heavily involved from the start. Two members of my team, one of whom is Iraqi and the other who is Dutch, have done tons of work for this initiative.’

‘I think it’s great that the bank facilitates this – that it frees up money and people so that we can do something for our fellow humans. I really respect that about my employer.’

What is UAF?

UAF supports highly educated refugees in securing a suitable position for themselves in society. The foundation helps refugees to continue studying and to find employment that is aligned with their skills. UAF also promotes the interests of highly skilled refugees in society, the press, politics, the government and education. https://www.uaf.nl

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