Project 16

Meetjesland Shop'n Job


The ‘Shop’nJob’ project is an initiative of ‘Welzijnsband Meetjesland’, a welfare association that works for 10 local authorities in Meetjesland. The project focuses on the activation of vulnerable groups with a greater distance to the labour market in the Meetjesland region, with a specific focus on the retail sector. The aim is to increase labour participation and address the local shortage of qualified personnel in the region, especially in labour market shortage professions such as shelf stackers, cashiers and sales assistants.

Various partners are joining forces within this project, each with their own contribution. Local authorities in the Meetjesland region are responsible for directing and guiding candidates to this project. JobRoad organizes a matchmaking campaign for this target group and encourages employers in the region to participate and get to know this target group, in order to possibly fill their vacancies. Before the matchmaking campaign starts, JobRoad organizes a workshop for supervisors/mediators from the Meetjesland region with information about the current labour market, application practices and effective preparation of candidates for work. Finally, I-Diverso provides any language coaching on the work floor to help new employees integrate smoothly or to help with changes in the daily operations of the organization or company.

How does a matchmaking campaign work?

The matchmaking campaign runs according to the model developed by JobRoad:

1. Preparatory phase:

In the preparatory phase, JobRoad is working with local authorities in Meetjesland to find retail companies that want to meet candidates with a distance to the labour market through the game ‘Expedition Work’. Prior to the kickstart, JobRoad organizes a workshop for supervisors from the region, in which they are informed about the labour market, application practices and the innovative approach of the project. The interactive workshop prepares supervisors for selecting candidates and playing ‘Expedition Work’, with the aim of reducing premature dropouts.

2. Kickstart (networking moment)

A (digital) meeting where employers and mediators are brought into contact with each other. Companies introduce themselves and present their vacancies, while mediators propose suitable candidates. These companies commit to meeting candidates from the target group proposed by JobRoad without the requirement of a CV (‘blind hiring’).

3. Screening & Matching – the candidates

Candidates are registered by trajectory counsellors for the screening & matching day, organized by JobRoad. On that day, the candidates are assessed on their motivation, learning ability, relevant experience, competencies and basic communication skills. JobRoad matches candidates to participating companies and vacancies.

4. Project week – “Expedition Work”

During the project week, JobRoad accompanies the selected candidates to the participating companies. Instead of traditional job interviews, the innovative game ‘Expedition Work’ is used to evaluate talents, competencies and suitability. This game helps participants explore specific roles in the retail sector and demonstrate their competencies. Afterwards, participants receive a detailed competency report. The workshop prepares both companies and candidates for inclusive thinking and contact with candidates who are further removed from the labour market. Strategies to remove barriers, such as anonymizing CVs, are discussed. In addition, the focus is on determining job goals, soft skills, CV preparation and job interview preparation for candidates.

5. Aftercare

For started candidates, JobRoad offers an intensive 3-month aftercare process, including follow-up interviews and on-site visits, to support employers and candidates, discuss challenges and address onboarding barriers.

For non-started candidates, JobRoad takes additional measures for 1 month to promote activation. This includes looking for matches/opportunities at other companies and employment agencies, prospecting at new companies and optionally participating in a Job Fair in collaboration with Travi.

The personal approach via the JobRoad model transcends the barriers of language, mobility and competencies. These aspects often make easy access to the regular labour market difficult for this target group. The project model appears to be an efficient lever to help them find a job, allowing them to fully participate in society again.

With support from POM East Flanders: As a partner of ‘Welzijnsband Meetjesland’ (promoter), JobRoad organizes one matchmaking campaign specifically for the retail sector in the context of a file called ‘Shop n’job’ (a subsidy file from the Province of East Flanders for employment projects of local authorities). We aim to have 9 companies participate, reach 45 living wage beneficiaries and select 30 candidates for the project week. We aim for a direct activation of 15 living wage beneficiaries. – Period: 01/01/2024 – 31/12/2025