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Deloitte Future Academy
The Deloitte Impact Foundation initiative ‘Future Academy’ gives refugees a valuable network.
Financial Advisory’s Director Arjan van Dijk spends most of his time providing companies and pension funds with strategic advice on employment conditions and pensions. But, he also makes an effort to help refugees like Mustafa Tan. And Arjan and Mustafa have even become colleagues recently.
Mustafa is a business analyst at Financial Advisory. He worked for the Turkish government before that, until the 2016 coup attempt changed everything. Mustafa: ‘My father was a professor. Although he never carried any kind of weapon he was accused of participating in the coup, so they fired him. Since I’m his son, I was fired too, and my wife was next. We then had to go into hiding. Our next step was to leave the country, a dangerous undertaking – especially because we had our one-year-old son with us.’
New Dutch Connections
His brother, who had already fled to the Netherlands because of the coup, gave Mustafa a New Dutch Connections (NDC) flyer upon his arrival. This organisation introduces refugees to businesses. The Future Academy at Deloitte was founded by Arjan and supported by the Deloitte Impact Foundation. Arjan: ‘NDC is our partner organisation and had produced flyers about the Future Academy, that's how Mustafa came into contact with us.’
Through this program, twenty refugees with a high level of education in their home country follow a ten-week process, in line with Deloitte's profile. They receive a coach from Deloitte and a student as a buddy, training and presentations. Arjan: ‘The potential of refugees is so much greater than is often thought. People like Mustafa are not only smart, they also have a lot of perseverance and are an added value for any company.’
Twenty refugees with a high level of education in their home country and who fit the Deloitte profile have enrolled in this ten-week programme. They are assigned a Deloitte coach in this period and a student as a buddy. They are given soft skills training and see a host of different presentations. ‘The Future Academy is not a recruitment program’, stresses Arjan, ‘instead, it wants to offer refugees a network, provide them with insight into working at a large (financial services) consultancy firm and to actively think about the future of a participant.’
Mustafa: ‘The presentations offer a great indication of Deloitte’s services, but I lacked the confidence to apply. Thanks to NDC's soft skills training, I regained my self-confidence.’ ‘Mustafa has become a real Deloitter now’, Arjan notes. ‘His enthusiasm and honesty opens doors and will be taking him a long way. You can see he understands Deloitte and its inner workings.’
Watch the video of the 2019 programme
Mustafa: ‘First I had to get used to a new country and the language, now I feel at home. My colleagues support me and understand my story. It is not easy for a refugee to talk about everything openly, but I can be my authentic self here and I think that is important. It was always my dream to be able to contribute to society and it worked. I feel respected thanks to this program.’
Arjan: ‘Many within Deloitte are enthusiastic to coach, give presentations, and to contribute to the wellbeing of others. We work together with other initiatives as well, also from Deloitte US, to give the refugees the right attention. One issue to keep in mind is for example how to deal with so much talent flowing into the recruitment process and to hold on to those people. The important thing now is to raise it all to the next level, all year long. This is where Deloitte can still take steps. It starts with acknowledging the potential refugees have. NDC is quite progressive in that respect.’
Mustafa adds: ‘If you want to become diverse and creative, you will have to give people like me, who have unusual backgrounds, a chance. It might just be that piece of the puzzle that completes a team.’ Arjan: ‘That's true diversity. No matter what your background is, it's about wanting something and using your network.’
Meet the participants
Four participants of the 2019 Deloitte Future Academy programme share their orgin and dreams. Six months after completing the programme, they shared what have accomplished in the meantime. One of them is even our new colleague at Deloitte!