Discovering job opportunities at Colruyt Group

Mentor-Escale is a support organisation for young refugees. Today, it has brought four of its young people along to discover Colruyt Group. A busy schedule visiting workshops, depots, and warehouses.

Mohib, Khalid, Berhane, and Asmal are waiting at the entrance to the technical office. Elien and Véronique, the Collibri Foundation ambassadors, are there to meet them along with two instructors from Mentor-Escale, Fatima and Olivier. Stage one of their long tour around the buildings in Hal is the technical workshops. It is a hive of activity involving many different professions: mechanics, electricians, carpenters, welders, etc. Mohib, who is training to be a mechanic, had no idea they worked here.

Performing maintenance on 3,000 vehicles. Creating furniture. Repairing forklift trucks, fridges, and meat grinders. Assisting stores.  Eddy, the guide, has boundless energy. Khalid is very interested and hangs on his every word: "And do you have jobs for French-speakers?" "Of course!" says Eddy. "We even offer courses to help them improve their Dutch!" It’s time to move on. "See you again soon, maybe," Eddy adds.

Stage two: the Colruyt store on the Brussels Ring Road. Jan, head of the wines department, explains how a 4th generation store works. The signs. The colours. The lighting. The flooring. "What we do here is test all the latest innovations before they’re rolled out to other stores." Fatima, the instructor, re-explains for anyone who didn’t understand: "With a total of 240 stores, a mistake would be expensive. So it’s important everything is tested first." 

Inside the store, the young visitors see all the services: Collishop, Collect&Go, customer orders, etc. "See this crate of wine? A client ordered and paid for it two years ago," explains Jan. "He’s a collector who reserves wine depending on the harvest." The young visitors soon realise there are different sides to being a warehouseman/salesman, etc. and it opens doors to a range of in-house training. "Some of our directors even started out as salespeople…."

Stage three. The Dassenveld distribution centre (part 1). "We’ve already walked 5 km today," remarks Véronique, checking her watch. "And we’ve still got 2 or 3 to go here," adds Carine mischievously. She’s here to welcome the group. From the hydrogen-powered forklifts, to the voice commands, waste recycling, etc., the visitors are astounded by the huge range of technology and working methods. And then, there’s the sheer scale of the place….

"I never would have imagined this," says Ajmal. "It's huge! When I do my shopping at Colruyt, I never think of all the things going on behind the scenes. Today’s really been an eye-opener for me. Even if sales isn’t the area I’d like to work in. I’d rather work in construction. But I really enjoyed the experience."

The day draws to a close with a cooking workshop at the Colruyt Group Academy. "Are we really going to cook for three hours?" But the mood is friendly and relaxed, and the workshop makes the time fly by. Vegetables are on the menu. This choice is perfect to reconcile the dietary restrictions of these young refugees from different corners of the globe. 

The tour offers a lot of interaction and shows Mohib, Khalid, Berhane and Kajmal in a concrete way how Colruyt Group can play a role in their future. "Each year 1500 unaccompanied foreign minors come to Belgium", ambassador Elien explains. "It’s very important to stimulate these youngsters in difficult circumstances to develop their talents. This schooling project makes the job search very tangible and fits into a bigger picture where schooling, welfare (OCMW) and language can give them a better chance to build a life here and also financially support their family. Thanks to the guides of our technical services, logistics and sales, they now have an idea of a possible future at Colruyt and they can keep working on their dream."

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Collibri Foundation

Address

Colruyt Group
Edingensesteenweg 196
1500 Halle

Phone

+32 (0)2 363 55 45
during office hours