Mariusz has a good fit with employer Blueberries Grathem

A diamond in the rough, that's how you can describe Mariusz. Every year he comes to the Netherlands for three months to do seasonal work at Blueberries Grathem. He has done so for seven years in a row. He does not (yet) speak a word of Dutch or English, but his qualities were recognized by the company, resulting in a position as team leader during the picking season. The following story appeared on the website of Glastuinbouw Nederland.

Despite his good education and job at the bank in Poland, he decided after working for a while in Germany to come and do seasonal work in the Netherlands. "The earnings in the Netherlands are so much better than in Poland. But not only that, I also gradually discovered that the Netherlands is a very open and friendly country. There is a great diversity of cultures and therefore greater tolerance for 'being different'."

Between the berries
He came into contact with Blueberries Grathem through friends. "It really is the nicest place I have ever worked," he says. "And I have worked in many places abroad. The atmosphere in this company is friendly. Any problems and remarks that are reported do not go unanswered. They always try to solve every problem together."

He cites the fact that salaries are always paid correctly and on time as another plus. "With other companies, that is often a problem, in my experience. My boss even helps employees free of charge to complete all official formalities, whether work-related or not."

His role within the organization did not go unnoticed. Mariusz has therefore been fulfilling the role of team leader since last year and has also been given administrative tasks. A role he performs well. His eagerness to learn and secure nature contribute to making great strides within the organization.

Hidden talents
Despite the language barrier, Mariusz and the Dutch staff in the office found a way to communicate through a translation app and by e-mail.

They say: "By communicating by e-mail, we got to know Mariusz even better. Mariusz has the ability to be a good connector in the group and has a good oversight of processes. He has helped us enormously with the recruitment of new employees and making contacts."

His eagerness to learn and accuracy contribute to making great steps within the organization. "It is great to see how he always keeps the company's interests in mind when he is doing his job and comes up with good ideas and suggestions for improvement," says Eric Criens, owner of Blueberries Grathem.

Last year Mariusz was involved in drawing up a course on healthy and safe working. Subsequently, Mariusz shared his knowledge on the subject by giving a short course to all new Polish employees explaining the rules on safety, hygiene, and environmental awareness. A task he takes very seriously in his role is the correct implementation of labor regulations by his team members. In order to be able to expand this task further, he will soon be obtaining his first aid diploma on his own initiative in Poland.

The fact that Mariusz is a committed employee who thinks ahead is demonstrated by the proactive proposal to create proper picking instructions for new colleagues. Eric says: "The team advised us to make clear, good instructions on how to pick. Mariusz thinks along immediately. For example, during the last picking day, he made videos and photos that I can use to have the instruction ready for next season."

Marius states: "If I see something that can influence health and safety on the work floor, I immediately bring it up. And fortunately, it is also immediately taken up."

Language barrier
Mariusz mainly worked together with other Polish people, and his boss also speaks Polish. Therefore, not knowing the Dutch or English language was less of a barrier. In his new role, he has to deal more with colleagues from other countries.

"Personally, that language barrier bothers me," says Mariusz. "That is why I have started a course in English so that I can communicate in it. After that, I want to learn Dutch. Because fewer and fewer Polish people are coming to the Netherlands, but more colleagues from Romania, for example, the English language is also important to be able to communicate with them."

He says that he is encouraged by the company to learn the language. He receives useful advice and all possible help with this.

The future
"I am very happy with my employer. That is why I have been coming back here for so many years, even though there are many other places I could try." In the longer term, his dream is to be able to travel around the world after retirement. "I love my job, and I hope I can prove myself in it for longer. I am happy to have found a good employer and a job where I like to come every year."

Source: Glastuinbouw Nederland 

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