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Industrial Air welcomes four new Greek colleagues at Airpower Belgium

At the start of summer, Product Company Antwerp (Airpower) hired four new engineers into the Industrial Air division. Pretty standard, one might think, as the engineering department makes up for a considerable amount of the employee base. The unusual part though is that all four happen to be Greek citizens. A coincidence? No such thing!

“ We have many engineering vacancies in Belgium but in our domestic job market it is not always easy to hire. We realized that in some other countries, the situation on the labor market is quite different as a lot of qualified young people are struggling to find a good job. Greece is one of those countries currently going through a period of higher unemployment and so together with the Greek Customer Center, we successfully explored the local job market. The support of the local HR manager in this process has been instrumental in achieving our goal ”

Pascale Penné , Industrial Air's Vice-President Human Resources

Early this year, job advertisements were posted on Greek e-recruiting platforms, generating 170 applicants. These were all screened locally and in a second phase, divisional HR organized an online assessment. The strongest candidates were then interviewed over skype and six of them were invited to Airpower to meet colleagues, undergo interviews, have a factory tour and explore Antwerp city. By the end of the visit, HR and the recruiting managers evaluated and four of them were offered a job: two project engineers and two design engineers for custom design.

We sat down for a chat with the Greek quartet and gathered these first impressions:

How have you experienced your first few months in Belgium?

Stefanos: It has been really nice so far. We enjoyed a Belgian summer full of festivals, we have travelled around to nearby cities and we like exploring the local culture. In the moving process we were supported by a mobility consultant which facilitated our relocation. This kind of support is very important for a smooth transition to a new place. We received temporary housing and help to register with the authorities and set up necessities like insurance. A lot of the bureaucracy was taken care of but at the same we got informed properly. Now we have finally settled in our permanent homes, started language lessons and plan our next steps.

Dimitrios: From the northern European countries, Belgium's one of the most alive places to be, with festivals all summer round as well as interesting towns and people. In fact, I find it to be not so different from Greece with its charismatic cities, with small streets and bars, all embedded in a cozy atmosphere.

Panagiotis: Before coming to Antwerp I was working in Doha, Qatar and I have already seen and felt significant changes both in my professional and social life. Most of which are positive relating to working hours, friendly environment, department collaboration and a better quality of life in general.
Michael: This fresh start gave me a new appetite to discover my new home. New people, new neighborhood, different culture; there is a lot to learn from. Even so, in such a multicultural place, you never have to feel like a foreigner – the heart of Europe seems to have a place for everyone who needs it.

What do you like about working at Atlas Copco and in Industrial Air?

Panagiotis: What has made an impression on me are the personal connections employees have between them. I guess working with somebody for a long time does bring forth a profound connection but people in the department have taken this to a next level, as much as to arrange weekend plans together and discuss about their private lives with colleagues. The environment is pleasant and kind making it easier for me to feel more at home whilst surrounded by people that care.

Michael: Atlas Copco and Industrial Air also looks after its people very well. Our needs were respected, flexibility is shown in terms of working hours and all the colleagues are very helpful. It is the perfect setting to start a new job.

Stefanos: First of all, the job itself is challenging and I like it! I am working on new product concepts, an area that is inherently demanding but also equally rewarding. I enjoy being around smart and ambitious people. The pleasant working environment, the open interaction with other teams and the overall working culture where people help each other out, makes it easier to cope with.

Dimitrios: There is also almost no such thing as language barriers here. Everyone, including the blue collar workers in the workshop, are able to communicate with us in English which makes things very easy. Even in meetings where we are the only non-native speakers, colleagues speak English constantly. Nonetheless, via Atlas Copco, we will also start following Dutch language courses to at least get a basic understanding of the language.

If you have to describe the Industrial Air division in one word or one sentence, what would it be?

Stefanos: Smart and set up well for the future.

Michael: Compressed Air Ninjas

Panagiotis: A place to grow and succeed.

Dimitrios: Compressed Air Library of Alexandria

Left to right: Michael Karakikes, Panagiotis Papaioannou, Stefanos Sarras & Dimitrios Vogias.

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