Hack Your Future, Belgium’s coding school for refugees

Author: Lorenzo Di Stasi

This article is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here.

Belgium needs IT workers, while disadvantaged migrants need the chance to access skilled jobs. A programme that trains refugees and asylum seekers in web development aims to help.

According to the Belgian Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, 23,443 people applied for asylum in Belgium in 2018. Yavuz, a journalist from Turkey, is one of them. “I was forced to leave my country for political reasons and I moved to Belgium to join part of my family. Brussels is the centre of Europe but doing the same job in Belgium was from the beginning impossible, since I didn’t speak French or Dutch,” recalls Yavuz.

“I then decided to apply for the IT training programme Hack Your Future Belgium and gain some experience as a developer to create something new.”

Hack your Future Belgium was launched in Brussels in 2018, following the example of an earlier project in Amsterdam that started in 2015 with an open-source curriculum. The project is funded by public money – the Digital Belgium Skills Fund offered by the Belgian Federal government. It has the goal to help fill the gap between the shortage of people working in the IT sector in Belgium and newcomers who are looking for a job or would like to improve their skills as developers.


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