Swedish furniture chain Ikea plans to train 80 refugees in Belgium, both in its stores and in their other service areas.
With a three-year programme, the company wants to give the refugees work experience and teach them practical skills. Staff members can volunteer to accompany the refugees as mentors.
The training programme called “Working & Growing Together” aims to eventually help at least 80 refugees in Ikea shops and services for the Belgian labour market as part of an effort to promote integration and improve the perception of refugees, but there is also commercial logic behind it.
“We believe that if we can reflect the diversity of our local communities throughout our organisation, we can better identify and meet the needs of our customers,” said project leader Veerle Vandervondelen.
The programme is part of a global initiative at IKEA, which gives more than 2,500 refugees in over 300 stores work experience.
IKEA works together with a series of specialised organisations that help with the preselection and recruitment of the candidates.
As of this month, 27 refugees are already working in Belgium.
Four are in Zaventem, five are in Ghent, four are in Hasselt, nine are in Mons and five are in Anderlecht.
In a next phase, which will be rolled out in 2021 and 2022, the other Belgian shops and services will also receive refugees.