‘Age is often an unjustified issue in job applications’

A push in the right direction. That's what job seeker Hans de Beule (53), a participant in the project ‘A buddy works’, needed.  “I'd already been rejected several times and I had lost confidence in myself. They never say it's the age, but you can read that between the lines in sentences like ‘we have a young team’. When an advertisement appeared for the buddy project for job seekers over 50, Hans grabbed his chance. He signed up and got in touch with coach Nora van den Berg, Executive Assistant at Eindhoven Airport. Nora: “The airport is participating in this project from a sense of social commitment. I became a buddy because I recognised the ‘problem’ Hans was having and wanted to help.” Age, according to both, is often an unjustified issue. “It's not easy to break through that bias.”

It's clear that Hans and Nora are a great match. Hans got the push he needed. “Nora showed me my capabilities and, in doing so, gave me back my self-esteem.” They have been in touch for several months now. Nora helped Hans redesign his curriculum vitae, is a sparring partner and gives him advice for his job interviews. She also uses her own network to bring Hans into contact with employers she works with. Nora sees it as the extra push Hans needs to get his foot in the door. “I can open doors.” She also helped Hans to stay focused on what he wants to do because she saw he was ‘blindly’ applying for every job. Nora: “Hans is constantly in the back of my mind.” Hans has now also found renewed enthusiasm to apply for work. He benefits greatly from Nora's network, which has already led to a number of invitations for job interviews. “Nora has brought me back down to earth. She's been a great help and I feel confident again.”  But there is still a long way to go, they both say. ‘That job will surely come.’