Abraham Djela has already completed several training courses since joining us recentlyyy

When Abraham joined Unilin Insulation, he didn't speak a word of Dutch, but that didn’t stop his professional development. In just a few months, he attended Dutch language coaching sessions and completed internal training courses.

04 July 2022

When Abraham Djela (26) joined Unilin Insulation in Waregem – Belgium in February, he didn't speak a word of Dutch, but that didn’t stop his professional development one bit. In just a few months' time, Abraham attended Dutch language coaching sessions and completed several internal training courses. This has enabled him to work as an operator of no less than two machines. His secret? “An open mind will get you much further."

Abraham recently moved from Brussels to Kortrijk for love. “My girlfriend lives in Menen. We are planning to get a place together soon.” A new home also meant a search for a new job. After a short other temping job, Abraham joined Unilin Insulation as a temp in mid-February.

“My training was in construction, so I was really interested in the Unilin Insulation products. After a two-week training course, I started operating the sawing machine. Shortly after, I took a training course to operate the film glue machine as well. So I now operate both these machines," he says. In addition, Abraham also found the time to take a forklift driver course and complete his occupational safety training.

Learning through experience

In March, he and several other colleagues with a different mother tongue started internal language coaching sessions. He continues to attend those to this day. The only Dutch Abraham had picked up in Brussels were some football terms. “I was part of a Flemish football team, Diegem Sport. My first Dutch words were: ‘doe maar’, which means ‘go ahead’, because that was what my coach was always saying to me,” he laughs.

With the help of his colleagues, Abraham's Dutch is improving very quickly. “My team leader speaks French, so if I don't understand something right away, I can still ask him. However, he does make sure that I mainly get to speak Dutch. He even does the exercises with me I get from my language coach. My immediate colleague is from Pakistan. He speaks only Dutch as a foreign language. Since I don't speak his language we communicate with each other in Dutch. And so I get a little bit better every day.” Abraham estimates he now understands about 80% of what his colleagues tell him. “In about a year’s time, I will understand everything!”

Openness for better progress

He also speaks Dutch outside of work with his new Kortrijk friends. “You have to be open-minded to get to know new people and learn a new language. If you cut yourself off, you never learn anything. I say “hi” to everyone. And if I don't get a response, that's okay too. At least I made an effort."

He sees this open-mindedness and positive attitude reflected in Unilin Group's organisational values. He really identifies with this drive to always want to do better. “I always try to stay positive. If I’m not on the right track right away, that's fine. Next time I will try something different and eventually it will all work out!"

Support Abraham

Fortunately, Abraham still enjoys playing football now that he has left Brussels. He has recently joined a new team, Oudenaarde, in the Belgian second provincial league. “I was looking for a team in Kortrijk, but that wasn't easy because I work two different shifts. That means I can attend football practice one week, but have to work the following week, and most coaches want you to be there all the time. The coach of Oudenaarde agreed that I don’t take part in every training session. The fact that I played at a high Belgian Division 3 level at Diegem Sport may have helped,” he winks. When we put it to him whether he would fancy joining a Unilin Insulation indoor football team, he immediately responds: “Sure, count me in right away!”


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