Schiphol and Specialisterren, a successful collaboration with Social Impact!

Cooperation through the eyes of Vibe Manager Machteld

The collaboration that Specialisterren and Schiphol have had since 2019 is proving to be a hit! But what are we doing there and what does this collaboration look like? Below is an insight into this project through the eyes of a manager at Schiphol, and the eyes of an annotator from Specialisterren.

Can you tell us more about yourself and your role at Schiphol?

Definitely! Since 2017, I have been Vibe Manager at Schiphol within the IT & data department. This role means that my job is to improve the employee journey (from onboarding to end of employment). The main question I am working on is “how do we retain the talent we need to do our job?”. I can do this in my own way, but it is guided by the department’s needs. Where HR makes policy, I make sure that this policy is translated into practice from A to Z. I really look at the talents and the needs of the employees. I really look at the talents and needs of everyone, so that each person is in the right place.

Schiphol is of course a very large organisation, could you tell us something about the department that Specialisterren works for?

The IT & data department is where all the digital development takes place in order to make the passenger experience smarter, to speed up and facilitate travel and to make operations more efficient. The team Specialisterren works for focuses on making operations more efficient and smarter.

For one of our digital projects, we use machine learning to train a model that analyses camera images of aircraft stands in order to use the data to, among other things, make predictions about what will happen at the stand. This can ultimately improve the operational process around the VOP and prevent delays. See also this article.

What issue were you facing that Specialisterren is addressing?

We needed annotators for this project who would enjoy observing and annotating all the events that take place around the aircraft stand. This had to be done accurately, of course. We then started looking at whether we could fill these spots with people with a distance to the labour market. We ultimately came across Specialisterren via another testing company with which we work.

Were there any major adjustments required to work with Specialisterren?

No, not really. We already look at what the needs are when new people join the team. We also did this with annotators, just like with every other colleague. and in this way we found out that they are all very different. We have worked with people distant from the labour market before and this could sometimes be challenging. That wasn’t the case with Specialisterren: because your people’s input fits in really well with the work, the collaboration turned out to be a winner. And it also bought us time, a real win-win situation.

How do you feel about working with Specialisterren?

Specialisterren employees really are part of the team. The colleagues at Schiphol are extremely happy with the crucial work that your employees do, because it enables them to do their jobs well.

How do you experience remote cooperation?

At Schiphol, there were a lot of stimuli that could cause unrest. Working at home and the peace and quiet that comes with it is therefore experienced as a positive thing.

What added value does Specialisterren provide for you?

The people at Specialisterren do their job very well. We’ll be knocking on Specialisterren’s door again next time.

How do you view the social return you are now providing through this cooperation?

We are delighted to be able to contribute to Specialisterren’s mission. In addition, this positive experience is a boost for working with people at a disadvantage on the labour market at Schiphol. In doing so I hope to increase social awareness within Schiphol.

Cooperation through the eyes of Software Tester Jim

What is your role within Specialisterren and what do you do at Schiphol?

At Specialisterren I hold the position of Software Tester, but my aim is to eventually become a Test Analyst. At Schiphol I don’t do any testing, I annotate what happens at the aircraft stand. The link between the testing work at Specialisterren and the annotating work at Schiphol is that for both you need to have an eye for detail and you need to work accurately.

What do you like about this job at Schiphol?

I really like the fact that I don’t have to switch much. You can work through a working day without many changes or interruptions in between. The challenge in this job lies in being precise: you really have to pay attention to the details of what you are doing. I like that, because zooming in on details suits me down to the ground.

Does this assignment teach you anything new?

Yes, namely looking critically at information. Every week, we look at the annotations where we doubt what exactly is happening in the image. This teaches me to look critically at the actual information and to keep track of my findings. For example, I now keep a file with the things I have learned, so that I don’t have to keep asking the same question. Besides looking critically, I also learn that if I have doubts about my work, I can discuss them with other people who can help me with this.

How do you like working directly with the team at Schiphol?

Nice and cosy! I really feel that I am part of the team at Schiphol. This is very pleasant in these times when you are often on your own. I can spar well with the team and I get a lot of appreciation. This is very important to keep up the work and Schiphol does this very well. In addition, we are given the space and time to work at the pace that is most ideal for us. The focus is really on quality and that gives us the space to do our work as well as possible without too much time pressure. This is also a good match for working at Specialisterren, where the focus is also on quality and development and less on time pressure.

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