A successful triangle

28.01.2008

When a Portuguese worker finds a job with a German company in Malta – then EURES can’t be far. Felipe is a 34-year-old mechanical technician from Barreiro, an industrial city on the southern bank of the river Tejo, close to Portugal’s capital Lisbon. When he realised that there was no professional future for him at home, the highly-skilled young man contacted EURES, which helped him to a suitable job on the Mediterranean island of Malta.

“No doubt, life in Barreiro is beautiful but these are hard times to make ends meet,” says Felipe ruefully, so after having been unemployed for a few months, he had to make one of the most important decisions of his life – to choose between a good job and his home town. His city was built up in the 1960s to house workers at the local manufacturing plants and offices. Today, however, almost all factories lie either derelict or disused, with most locals now working on the other side of the river, in Lisbon. For Barreiro’s industrial workers the situation remains bleak, since the chances of finding appropriate work in Lisbon are limited and competition for vacancies is fierce.

When Felipe grew up in the ‘golden age’ of the city, he dreamed of becoming a mechanical technician and at the time his home town offered plenty of opportunities. However, after years of study and work, the fortunes of the city changed and forced him to start thinking about his future and whether it lay in his home city or elsewhere. Besides the need for a job, Felipe was also curious to travel and see more of the world. He thus decided that working abroad could be an interesting challenge and a new start.

To that end, he contacted EURES and found out from Margarida Rodrigues — EURES Adviser in Barreiro — that Playmobil, a German toy manufacturing company was hiring experienced, English-speaking mechanical engineers for its Maltese production facilities. The company offered to cover travel and accommodation expenses for foreign jobseekers selected to attend an interview. Margarida had already chosen Vera, a 27-year-old Portuguese, for a similar position, when Felipe also decided to give it a try.

Malta enjoys one of the most spectacular employment growth rates in Europe, attracting companies from all over the world because of its low taxes and well-trained labour force. However, this positive economic development also lead to labour shortages and qualified mechanical technicians were desperately sought for. Once Playmobil sent its offer through EURES, it received numerous applications both from Malta and elsewhere in the EU.

Both Vera and Felipe were invited for an interview. ”Of course we were nervous. It was our first interview in English, in a foreign country, but thanks to EURES help and preparation both in Malta and back home in Portugal, we both got the jobs we wanted and we’re now working in a really challenging environment”, Vera explains. “Playmobil is now covering our accommodation for a couple of months, which is great, but I’ll soon look for a new apartment, hopefully with a nice ocean view,” Felipe enthuses.

Both Felipe and Vera can now plan ahead and are grateful for the opportunity that brought them to this unique island. They strongly recommend Malta as a great place to work – and EURES as an efficient and helpful partner in support of mobile workers.

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