Close this search box.

Skills for the future: Building bridges to new opportunities

Bringing out the best in our talented youth

Organised by the Brussels-Capital Region



Brussels, the city with the most beautiful square in the world and the country’s finest waffles, is a true metropolis teeming with talent. The OECD emphasizes this in its latest report ‘Unleashing talent in Brussels’. To fully harness the many talents of the city’s residents, Bernard Clerfayt, minister of Employment and Vocational Training in Brussels, is investing in skills development, specifically digital skills.

In today’s world, digital skills are indispensable across all sectors.

Molengeek is somewhat the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Belgium, as it is Brussels’ hub for technology. At its core is a captivating success story: Molengeek owes its existence to Ibrahim Ouassari, a young school dropout from Molenbeek who, driven by his passion for computers, became a serial entrepreneur.

This Brussels-based organisation has set itself a challenge: making the technology industry accessible to everyone, especially to young people. Offering training, guidance, coaching and corporate internships, Molengeek has become a key player in the digital industry, expanding its partnerships in both the private sector (Google, Proximus, PWC, etc.) and the public sector. Whether it’s in cybersecurity, programming, artificial intelligence or digital marketing, 93% of Molengeek’s students completing their training, either start a business or find employment. Due to their exceptional results, Molengeek has not only gained recognition in Belgium, but also on an international scale. They have established a presence in the Netherlands, Italy and Morocco.

How does Molengeek effectively attract, train and empower young people from underprivileged neighbourhoods, ultimately guiding them to employment? Especially when considering that these young people often struggle to connect with public institutions.


In the Brussels Region, for every ten low-skilled job seekers there is only a single vacancy for low-skilled work available. In this context, investing in training opportunities becomes crucial. This visit offers a unique chance to witness the positive impact of the training – a learning program that effectively gets young individuals employed in a municipality with one of the highest unemployment rates in the Brussels Region (21.6%).

During this visit, you will discover how Molengeek has become a prominent player in the digital education landscape withing just a few years. You will experience first-hand how they successfully restore the self-confidence of school dropouts, while renewing their trust in society.

Additionally, this visit aims to present the Brussels training policy and minister Bernard Clerfayt’s objectives for enhancing the skills of the city’s residents.

This hands-on experience offers the opportunity to explore an internationally acclaimed training centre and to listen to the experiences of former participants in the Molengeek programme. This visit is linked to the session ‘Creating a vision for future skill requirements’.



VISIT 2: Art2Work


“Nothing happens unexpectedly, except for snow, rain and problems.” This statement aptly captures the state of mind of the youth under the guidance of Art2Work.

Brussels, the country’s capital, faces a significant poverty rate while simultaneously presenting numerous opportunities for high-skilled employment. Against this backdrop, securing work remains challenging for a specific group of young individuals. Adding to the difficulty, discrimination often closes more doors more than it opens, making it very tough to stay motivated. Some rejected youths become completely demoralised and give up. This specific group of young individuals is referred to as NEETs (not in employment, education and training).

Although the NEET percentage is decreasing in the Brussels Region, it still stands at 9%. Furthermore, certain neighbourhoods are more affected than others. The question is: how can we rebuild trust in disillusioned youth who have lost faith in the system

Art2Work actively reaches out to young individuals who have lost touch with the institutional world. The first step in rebuilding their confidence is reminding them of their inherent talents. Art2Work operates under the philosophy that “work is an art in which everyone can be an artist.”

This Brussels-based non-profit organisation guides young people (aged 18 to 30) in their personal development and career planning.

Art2Work is specialised in guiding young people through their personal development journey. They provide them with the opportunity to shape their own narratives by tapping into their imagination, leveraging their strengths, adopting a positive mindset, learning new skills and regaining confidence in themselves.


During this visit you will discover how Brussels invests in its youth through unconventional coaching designed specifically for young people. Art2Work doesn’t work with traditional classrooms, instead, they offer open spaces where everyone can develop their soft skills – a quality that businesses are increasingly valuing – before starting vocational training.

During your visit, you can connect with young individuals seeking meaningful experiences. You will not only learn about their life journey but will witness their determination to secure employment and contribute to society.

This event highlights the significance of empowering people, especially young individuals, in a dynamic region such as Brussels, ensuring that they acquire the necessary skills for new opportunities.

We present a project with remarkable outcomes for young individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds in Molenbeek.