Through free education based on a 7-month program taught by 50 high-skilled volunteers, the school in Amsterdam helps motivated refugees, migrants, people with disabilities and long-term unemployed to a successful job in web development. Apart from technical skills, the motivated individuals partaking in the program learn soft skills, have access to conferences and events and receive interview training and job support. I sit together with Wouter to talk about his life, his drive to diversify the labour market, we talk about the success of the community at HackYourFuture, what these 2,5 years have taught him and on what being a member in A Lab means.
Hi Wouter, tell me about yourself, how did you end up at HackYourFuture?
I have been working at HackYourFuture for 2,5 years. Before that I studied journalism and got a master’s degree in international relations (political science). I have always been interested in economics and politics. More specific in how we can create conditions and opportunities for people who unfortunately didn’t grow up in the right conditions to make the choices they would like to make.
Where did that drive and interest come from?
Before starting out at HackYourFuture, I worked in development aid for 4,5 years. Many of the field-related projects come with the right intentions, but often don’t meet the goals they are supposed to. It came to a point where I just wanted to be part of a project I believed in. That’s when I came across the vacancy of Partnership Manager at HackYourFuture. I had been following the organization from the start and I really believed in the organization and its mission. I got the job and moved from Nairobi to Amsterdam.
There’s a lot of demand for software developers in the Netherlands but there are also a lot of talented and motivated people coming to the Netherlands who can’t find a job. We combine these two problems into one solution. My job was to help the graduated students into a job. It gave me the opportunity to support people in creating opportunities for themselves. Last year I became the Managing Director and right now I’m working together with a very talented team of 4 full-time staff and over 50 volunteers, the backbone of HackYourFuture.