Utrecht University: University and facility partners join forces for people with an occupational disability

Utrecht University is joining forces with four facility partners: Asito (custodial services), Eurest (catering), Maas (coffee machines) and Sight Landscaping to create unique jobs for people with an occupational disability and/or psychological vulnerability. The five parties signed a statement of intent to that effect on 30 March. Eddie Verzendaal, Director of the Facilities Service Centre, signed on behalf of the university: “Utrecht University is an inclusive organisation. This programme is an important way for us to contribute to society and show our social side together with our business partners.”

As part of the Roulatiebanen Springplank project, participants will be able to spend two years working with the four facility partners on behalf of Utrecht University. Each company will offer the participant a six-month position to give them an opportunity to become acquainted with the company, find out if the work suits them, and acquire skills and knowledge through training and education. At the end of the two years, the participant who has displayed satisfactory performance will be guaranteed a job with the company that best suits the employee’s qualifications and preferences.

Pride in partnership
The driving force behind the programme, Joop Hake from Maas external link, is exceptionally proud of the collaborative project: “Maas has worked well with the university and the other partners for many years now. So we’re pleased to take this new step together by rolling up our sleeves in this initiative. In this project, we’re combining the high demand for workers in today’s tight labour market with our shared desire to offer everyone an equal opportunity for employment and education. I have every confidence that we’ll achieve some excellent results together.”

Proeftuin Banenafspraak
Roulatiebanen Springplank is part of the Proeftuin Banenafspraak partnership that was created in 2019. Several other UU suppliers are also involved in this project. Proeftuin Banenafspraak is a national initiative by the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations and De Normaalste Zaak external link, and has resulted in many other projects throughout the Netherlands. These proeftuin projects all share the same goal of enabling suppliers and clients to create jobs for people with an occupational disability. Patrick Kloosterman from Asito external linkhas been an enthusiastic participant in the Utrecht University proeftuin project for many years: “Asito is a socially responsible company. In these kinds of projects, we take off our entrepreneur hat and put on our social enterprise hat. We focus on the employee and his or her abilities, and make sure that everyone feels comfortable at work. We have experienced workers who mentor employees who are more vulnerable. And we’ve noticed that the university and the other parties share the same motivation. Doing good is infectious! You can definitely call our energetic partnership ‘unique’. Everyone belongs, and everyone participates.”

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