Fast-Tracking Local Talent to Local Opportunities

September 2022 |  Written by – Ariel Slaughter

Brabant is the undisputed hub of technology and design in the Netherlands. With a wide range of multinational and startups tech firms like Philips and ASML calling the region home, highly-skilled internationals and Dutch alike flock there every year seeking opportunities. But solely having desirable skills is not enough to ensure they can successfully navigate the labor market. Marta Martínez knows how difficult it can be, but with the Expat Spouses Initiative’s TALENT100 program, she was market ready and employed within five months!


Finding a Career that Makes a Difference

Marta moved to Eindhoven in January 2022 when much of the country was still closed due to the pandemic. She is a physicist originally from Spain and has a PhD in applied chemistry specializing in nanomaterials. Despite coming from the academic world, Marta wanted to pursue something different. “Before coming here, I worked in the academic field. And I was sure that I wanted to move to the company…But the problem is that I was really lost because I didn’t know my opportunities. After all, companies and academia work completely different.”

What Marta really wanted to do is transform her years of study into a career that improves society through groundbreaking technology specifically in the biomedical field. “In academia, it’s pretty infrequent that your studies go right through to the society. And now I want to do something that arrives to the market, the customer.” The question was: ‘how?’ Enter the Expat Spouses Initiative’s TALENT100 program.


Getting Market Ready with TALENT100

The TALENT100 program, designed by the Expat Spouses Initiative (ESI), is a new collaboration with two other Brabant organizations: Huis naar Werk and the LivingIn program of the Holland Expat Center South. It aims to integrate local international professionals into the local labor market.

During this 12-week intensive program the participants or Talents are assigned to one of two tracks. They are then guided through a series of workshops from career coaching, personal branding to CV writing to get them market ready before being introduced to potential employers through an organized outreach campaign and networking opportunities, including the TALENT100 LIVE recruitment event. Some of the Talents are also paired with a mentor or Ambassador, who is an established local professional in a similar field, who supports them throughout the entire process.

Marta heard about the program from her husband soon after arriving, but she wasn’t sure if it fit her needs. However, a previous Talent from ESI’s Women for Women program convinced her to apply. “I talked with a woman that participated in the program last year and she told me that it was a really good opportunity because you learn how the Dutch labor market works and more than that, meet other women who are in the same situation as you.”


New Career, New Beginning

As a Talent of the first edition of the TALENT100 program, Marta learned the tools and gained the confidence needed to achieve her goal, eventually landing a position with SCIL Nanoimprint Solutions as a Material and Process Development Engineer in June 2022 – just five months after arriving! Of course, she credits her success to ESI:

“The program helped me a lot. We had a career coach who helped us establish our goals and our deadlines to fulfill those goals, workshops about resumes, LinkedIn, motivation letters, etc. So, when the interview comes you can show people your skills properly. There was also talk about the Dutch culture which is really important because you came from another country and you need to learn how people in this particular country work.”

Marta Martinez

Restarting your career after moving abroad is important, but ESI and TALENT100 gave Marta something else that she equally values: support and friends. She said, the program helps “you find your place, find your friends. And for me, [that] was very, very important. I came here in January when everything was closed. I didn’t know anyone. So, the first month was really complicated…But now I have my  friends.”

 Marta’s professional outlook in Eindhoven looks bright, and she is optimistic about the future, “I’m really happy. The most important thing for me now is to do something which arrives to the market or a customer. Something that [betters] society.”


Second Edition of TALENT100

Have you been inspired by Marta’s story? Are you eager to join the next edition of the TALENT100 program? Expat Spouses Initiative is looking for 60 applicants for the program’s second edition, starting in September. If you are a motivated international looking for support to get market ready or need guidance to make a career transition don’t hesitate to register now. ESI can help you find the job of your dreams.

Read more success stories from other internationals like Marta from Brabant in the Tips, Trips, and Stories from our Community section and here.


A natural storyteller and aficionado of the written word, Ariel Slaughter works as a freelance writer and editor. She has a dual Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Rhetoric and Japanese Literature and Language from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a Master’s of Arts in International Relations from the International University of Japan. 

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