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    Flemish companies cosy up to Walloon jobseekers

    © Belga
    Pierre-Yves Jeholet approves of the plan.
    © Belga

    Faced with the shortage of workforce subsisting in the north of country, and more particularly in West Flanders, the local section of the Flemish employer organisation, Voka, has decided to relaunch the Internet platform www.vouseteslesbienvenus.eu. Its aim: to attract more Walloons from the other side of the linguistic frontier. The plan was set out on Tuesday in Westrozebeke, in the presence of the Walloon Minister of Economy and Employment, Pierre-Yves Jeholet.

    The rate of unemployment within West Flanders has gone down to 5.2% and even to 3% in some sub-regions. The net effect means that there are scarcely 1.4 candidates per vacancy. Hence why Voka and the companies in the north of the country are cozying up to French workers and, particularly, Walloons. The rate of unemployment in the province of Hainaut has gone up to 12.8%.

    Several actions have already been undertaken so as to force Walloon jobseekers to try their luck in the north of the country, and the Internet site www.vouseteslesbienvenus.eu has existed for a long time. However, it is being freshly launched promoting the advantages of West Flanders which are its proximity, and its performance as regards mobility and bilingualism. The latter aspect is particularly significant as language often represents a barrier.

    Minister Jeholet also wishes to work upon the greater inter-regional mobility of workers. The Walloon minister stresses, “So that jobseekers can seize the maximum possibilities, it is necessary for them to dare to cross the linguistic frontier. It is our political duty to find solutions, ranging from training to vocational guidance.” He wishes to see 2,500 Walloons per year venture across the linguistic frontier to find a job.

    Currently, 5,600 Walloons work in West Flanders. Since the beginning of the year, 9,114 have already received a job offer in Flanders.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times