Rising You: An initiative to get refugees working in the construction industry in Belgium

Building holidays are over, and today eleven refugees are starting a professional internship in the construction sector as part of the Rising You project.

The Rising You project is a collaboration between Vivaldis, the social enterprise Rising You, and the VDAB.

Each internship was preceded by an extensive 18-week training period, in which the refugees learned basic Dutch as well as how to work safely at altitude. Each internship will in turn lead to a six-month interim contract, with the possibility of a stable job.



The internship and work placements for refugees are spread over eight different construction companies.

“This project perfectly fits Vivaldis’ motto: ‘My work is what I do with it.’ We are pleased to give these people who have been through difficult times the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and do something about their careers and futures,” said Anke Ulens, CEO of Vivaldis.

Ms Ulens continued: “Our clients in the construction sector are pleased to be able to offer an opportunity to people who are having difficulty finding their place in the job market. And at the same time, they obviously have an interest in attracting motivated professionals.”

In the longer term, Vivaldis hopes to extend the Rising You initiative to other sectors.

Interested job seekers can register with the VDAB. After an initial screening – which will include tests on their knowledge of Dutch, climbing skills, ability and resistance to vertigo – they will have a chance to access one of the twelve places in the Rising You training scheme.

97% of the people who have followed the training courses for construction work now have a job.