Leuven Jumpstart Café

What is the Leuven Jumpstart Café? Until the end of 2021 the International House, partnered with the city of Leuven and Talent Interlock, are hosting a series of meetings for internationals in Leuven to come, meet, share, discuss, and learn more about the Belgian labour market and how to jumpstart their careers. We created this space to provide a place for all of the resources and information that we discuss during our meetings. We hope that this information provides you with the means to learn and grow on your path to success.

If you are interesting in joining any of the in-person or online cafés, choose your desired date and register on our activities page, here.

If you are still questioning what the Jumpstart Café is, below you can find an introduction from Johan Geleyns, from our very first meeting, who sums up the goals and purpose of this series of meet-ups.

Introduction from Johan Geleyns at our first Jumpstart Café:

"My name is Johan Geleyns and I am the Alderman responsible for sports, trade and employment of the city of Leuven. As such, it is my privilege to welcome you all to this training offered to you by the city of Leuven, International House and Talent Interlock. 

I want to start by expressing my gratitude for everyone involved here. In the 80’s TV-show “the A-team” there was a character named Hannibal who always said “I love it when a plan comes together” and this is certainly true here. 

When it comes to the field of employment there are a few different forces in play. There are short term effects, like the general impact of corona, and long term trends like the struggle to find enough people in some so-called bottleneck professions, as we see in healthcare or industrial technics. 

The ambition of the Flemish government is to raise the employment rate to 80% of the general potential working force. For us, this is everyone between 20 and 64 years of age. At the moment this rate is 74,7%. But we notice there are still a lot of roadblocks between people that want to work and the labour market. Therefore both the Flemish government and the city of Leuven are looking for partners to help remove those roadblocks. We want to close the gap between people that are able to work, that want to work, and the employers that need those people to thrive. 

Often, the VDAB is our partner there. But, they only work in Dutch. In an international city like Leuven, the current majority deemed this not sustainable. In line with our ambition to further internationalise Leuven, we are offering a “second route” to the labour market. Of course, we also think that it is important to learn the language of the city you live in. But more important, we want to activate people as quickly as possible, and are confident that they will realise, depending on their situation that learning Dutch has other long term benefits for them. That is why we are working together with International House Leuven as the organizer of this course, and with Talent Interlock as coaches – since they have the talent, pun intended, to maximise your potential for the Belgian labour market. With this strong partnership our city wants to bring out the best in everyone. And this is the plan that I was talking about. The one that is coming together. In our city every talent counts. I am confident that you are all very enthousiastic to start this training. I know we have a strong partnership and that we can offer you more information and guidance during your stay in Leuven. Together we can make this work. I hope you a great time during this training and wish you a lot of success afterwards. Thank you all for being here."


Internationals looking to start, or re-start, their careers in Belgium/Leuven

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