Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Today, Executive Director Alaric Bien spent in Antwerp,
the second largest port in Europe, 45 minutes outside Brussels by train.

There he visited an employment program called WerkVormm, housed on the docks of the city. Because the maritime industries are such a large employer, they focus training on welding for shipping container repair, general harbor maintenance, and catering work.

As you can see in the picture, the entrance to their facility is symbolic of their philosophy: the door is wide, and the threshold is low to enter, but you must be motivated to succeed.

Part of this is requiring trainees to clock in an clock out of work each day, just like in a real job. Coming to work every day on time ensures that clients learn the self-discipline needed to function successfully in the real world.

Here, students are practicing hands-on welding of a shipping container.

And here is one of the boats that are being restored to seaworthiness by students learning maintenance skills. No those are not job trainees, but other exchange participants!

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