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Flemish politicians do 'summer internships' at local companies

06:31 19/08/2020
From Flanders Today

More than 100 politicians have signed on to Voka’s “summer internship” programme, a record number. Voka, the Flemish chamber of commerce, launched the programme nearly three decades ago to get the people who set policy into workplaces that are effected by those policies.

Flemish politicians, from city councillors to federal ministers, can work for a day in a company chosen by Voka. “Via the Voka Summer Internships, politicians can see first-hand the kind of impact that the corona crisis has had on businesses,” said Voka chair Hans Maertens, “but also how they see opportunities and manage to remain active.”

Kicking off the programme this week were, quite appropriately, federal economy minister Nathalie Muylle (CD&V) and Flemish labour minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V). Muylle took to Delhaize’s fresh food distribution centre in Asse, Flemish Brabant.

Working alongside the Delhaize crew, Muylle (pictured above) learned how to fill orders placed by supermarkets around the country and how differently they have to work now compared to six months ago. Muylle also visited the supermarket’s logistics learning centre and learned how to drive a forklift.

Crevits split her internship between financial consultants Deloitte in Roeselare and wood products specialist Decospan in Menen, both in West Flanders. In the morning, she learned how a branch office of one of the world’s biggest financial firms operates and the impact of Covid-19 on local companies.

In the afternoon, the labour minister entered a different world as she met the staff at Decospan, specialists in interior wood solutions, including wood panelling, floors and beams. While at Decospan, she took part in the unveiling of Digitale Quick Scan, a system local businesses can use to measure the strength of their digital services. The scan was developed by Voka and Deloitte as part of the entrepreneurship programme at Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“That these two ministers in particular would join staff on the workfloor means so much to our companies,” said Maertens. “The keen interest of politicians in this initiative sends a strong signal to the many businesses who have suffered under the corona crisis.”

Photo ©Hatim Kaghat/BELGA

Written by Flanders Today