RSM volunteers deliver tech career development for refugees

A career development initiative especially for refugees and delivered by volunteers from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), has helped the refugees to restart their lives in the Netherlands by teaching them how to break into the Dutch job market. Workshops over the summer were held at Restart Network in Rotterdam, and there are more to come.

Volunteers from RSM’s Career Centre developed a customised workshop for the group, which they described as ‘a valuable and rewarding process’. They ran four sessions of the master class in personal and career development for refugees through the summer, and more are planned for this autumn.

The refugees joined a class totalling 19 students, men and women, from all kinds of underprivileged groups taking part in Restart Network’s One Program. Participants need to be fluent in English, and are expected to show a high level of commitment to the programme, which demands at least 60 hours a week. The career development master class is the result of a crowdsourcing initiative from RSM alumni Teodor Cataniciu, Frederick Rustler and Adam Shpilt who are behind the Restart Network, a non-profit organisation that empowers refugees. All instructors, including the career coaches, are volunteering their expertise to help underprivileged people to start a new life through a career in technology.

The volunteers included RSM’s career coaches Vildana Gačić; Alina van Duijn, Justin Sheehan, Cordine Wischhoff, and Anita Török from the Corporate and Alumni Relations team.

The bespoke workshops covered personal strengths, values and goals, writing CVs and cover letters – and developing a professional online profile, as well as interview skills and working in teams.

The participants follow a 12 month programme of which the final six months include an internship. The career development workshops help students learn about the tech industry’s recruitment process, how to identify a suitable career and how they can best present themselves to companies such as internet, telephone and TV organisation KPN, digital consultancy Incentro and digital employment bureau Connect Holland.

“I adjust every workshop to the receiving group,” says RSM’s Vildana Gačić, who reported very positive feedback from the participants. “I noticed that this group is very open to learning and developing, and Focused on restarting their lives in the Netherlands.

“The key is to find internships for all the students. So far so good!” said Vildana.

The Restart classroom in the Venture Café community in Rotterdam’s Grote Handelsgebouw is already equipped with computers, but Restart is a non-profit organisation and depends on commercial partnerships and funding.

Restart Network originated as a crowdsourced organisation, started by Teodor Cataniciu, 21. Teodor is founder and president of the Restart Network and Turing Society, another non-profit organisation that helps people solve problems with events, workshops and boot camps that help people to solve problems using technology. The Restart Network is active in Amsterdam and in Lithuania as well as in Rotterdam.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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Marianne Schouten, Vildana Gacic