’From the first day on, I always felt welcome here.’

Two Incluusion trainees. Photo: Eline Bollaart
Two Incluusion trainees. Photo: Eline Bollaart

Trainee Ahmad and supervisor Laurens share their experiences with the Incluusion Traineeship: a program for status holders to gain relevant work experience at Utrecht University. Ahmad started his traineeship at the University Library, where Laurens had already been working for years.

Why traineeships?

It is difficult for status holders to find a job, despite the tight labor market. Foreign diplomas, a language barrier and a (seemingly inexplicable) gap in one’s CV are reasons why refugees struggle to find work.

However, of the 9 trainees who completed their traineeship in 2022, everyone has found a paid position. Ahmad, with his background as a librarian, found a job in early 2023 at Ingressus, a service organization for libraries. Ragna Senf, project manager at Incluusion, says: "We are incredibly proud of the former trainees. Everyone has found a job within or outside of Utrecht University. This is exceptional, because almost 60% of all status holders who have lived in the Netherlands for 5 years are unemployed. And when they do find work, it’s often menial jobs."

Incluusion Traineeships

That’s why Incluusion organizes traineeships: a status holder works for 6-8 months at a Utrecht University department while still receiving social benefits. Trainees work in various departments, from financial control to communication, and from research groups to HR departments. The ultimate goal? A paid job within or outside of Utrecht University. During the traineeship, status holders gain relevant work experience in the Netherlands, improve their Dutch language skills, and develop themselves professionally.

Incluusion supports this process by providing continuous guidance for both the trainee and the supervisor, and by organizing:

  • Dutch language lessons (private tutoring),
  • Personal budget for professional development,
  • Themed sessions with all trainees together,
  • Participation in an Intercultural Competences training,
  • Participation in the onboarding program of HR.
  • Participation in work2work, the Utrecht University service that helps people on their way to finding a job.


The traineeship program clearly has a positive effect on the employment prospects of status holders. Several trainees mentioned that their job applications were viewed differently after they could add "work experience at Utrecht University" to their CV.

But the traineeships also offer benefits to Utrecht University itself: the program contributes to a more diverse staff population. Riėl Lamur is a trainee supervisor at the Faculty of Science and shares, "What I personally find to be a valuable revelation is how this traineeship program helps me develop a more inclusive mindset. Thanks to our dynamic and interaction, what you automatically perceive(d) as ’normal’ suddenly gains a whole new perspective." Moreover, through the traineeships, Utrecht University works towards inclusive employment, considering people with barriers to the Dutch labor market.


In the summer of 2023, candidates can apply for the new round starting in late 2023/early 2024. It is Incluusion’s task to match suitable candidates with fitting positions within Utrecht University. We aim to streamline this process compared to previous years by proactively searching for available positions in advance. We anticipate a maximum of 15 new trainees for 2024, so that we can ensure a personal approach for both the trainees and the workplace supervisors.

Feeling inspired?

Are you considering organizing traineeships within your organization? 
Read more about the traineeships or contact Lina Senen, project coordinator, via incluusion-traineeship@uu.nl.