George: "I'm still young and want to study for a better future"

George Kablan arrived in the Netherlands from Syria as a 17-year-old in 2015. His coach at the regional training centre (the 'ROC') said Alfen is the place to be: a good match. He wanted to prove himself - and that he did! From vacation work, George was offered an internship and from there into the BBL pathway mbo level 2. And George has not stopped learning.

George followed a Dutch course to learn the language at the Almere ROC. He held down internships at various companies during this course. First at KAF in Almere. "And when that internship was over, I could choose where I wanted to go," says George.

George discussed the options with his ROC coach. "I told her that I would like to take on a technical internship." George had already studied electrical engineering for two years in Syria and wanted to take this further in the Netherlands. "My coach told me that if I wanted a technical traineeship, go to Alfen."

So George started his Alfen internship in June 2018. He found this so interesting that he wanted to take part in Alfen's BBL pathway mbo level 2. 

'To prove myself'

George emphasises that not everybody gets taken on by Alfen. "I had to prove to Rieks, my practical supervisor, that I could do the job. During my 10 day internship, I showed what I could do in electrical engineering. I wrote down everything I knew on the whiteboard."

Rieks and the Alfen training coordinator were convinced; George was made of the stuff they were looking for. "I had to wait until September 2018 before I could begin the training programme, so I took a holiday job at Alfen instead."

'Learning the names of the tools'

He followed Rieks around and worked on the transformer station production line. "I stayed close to Rieks because I didn't then know the names of all the tools. And that is crucial. If you don't know what they're called, you can't do your work properly."

George and the training programme were made for one another. In January 2020 he passed his Dutch examination. a nationwide test. "I knew that if I passed my Dutch exam, I would be awarded my mbo level 2 certificate." That means that George obtained this accolade in 18 months! "It was useful knowing a little bit about electrical engineering, that made it easier for me."

Once George has completed level 2, he wants to press ahead with level 3. His ambition is also to complete level 4. "But I first need to work on my language skills. I need to speak Dutch even better, because level 4 is even more challenging." And this can sometimes be tough. "I get the point, but I don't always understand the sentence. And then I make mistakes."

'I want to study so much'

Motivation plays a major role in George's drive to study. 'I want to study so much. I am still young and want to study for an even better future." What makes Alfen Academy such an inspiring place to be? "If you've just learned something at school, you can see the areas of improvement in the workplace even more easily. If the machine indicates another value, while that cannot be true, then you can calculate what it should be! Because you've just learned at school how to do that. Then I can calculate the value on the production line and prove that I know how to do that."

Sometimes you learn things at the Alfen Academy that are not necessary for your work there, but you'll need these skills to pass your Electrical Engineering exam. That means your certificate is not only valid at Alfen, but is recognised throughout the Netherlands. 

'Working, studying, earning'

George says that Alfen Academy is a nice place to be. "You can work and study at the same time, and also earn a little money." Alfen continues to grow. "We are allocated a new project each period. You develop yourself in more than one direction. You try things out and the coaches explain everything really clearly."

Are you interested in a BBL track at Alfen?

Would you like to obtain an mbo certificate at our Alfen Academy? Please go ahead! At our expense. You work four-and-a-half days a week, and go to school on the 5th day. Or, in other words, you enrol in our competence development course (the 'BBL' pathway). So you like to get things done? Do you learn the most on the job? Then this is your chance! Contact our recruiter, Jiska Andeweg. You can reach her by phone, e-mail or app,