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From competition to cooperation

Helping North Sea Port optimise and sustain its talent pool

North Sea Port Talent

Deloitte partnered with the city of Ghent to establish North Sea Port Talent, fostering collaboration among industry, local authority, and employment partners. Together, they crafted a shared vision, strategy, and business plan, paving the way for a cooperative talent ecosystem.

Aligning diverse players

As one of the key stakeholders, the city of Ghent approached Deloitte to assist in creating and maintaining a stable strategic partnership with a clear mandate and goals. This partnership brought together a wide cross section of industry, local authority and employment partners. They worked effectively towards a shared vision: creating a service centre for training and employment at North Sea Port, now officially named North Sea Port Talent.

As a first step, the Deloitte team ran a series of workshops with representatives of the port ecosystem: companies, local authorities, and employment agencies. Testing the waters, the team encouraged open ‘cards-on-the-table’ communication by all relevant parties to jointly develop and agree upon a clear value proposition.

This exploratory phase facilitated the Deloitte team in identifying those partners willing to invest in North Sea Port Talent. Working with this group, the Deloitte team then supported the partners in defining the business model and strategy of the service centre. Finally, to ensure the continuity and stability of the initiative, Deloitte and the partners created a three-year business plan and identified the most appropriate legal structure for the partnership.

As a result, the partners (City of Ghent, North Sea Port, VDAB Oost-Vlaanderen, Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, Dethon and Gemeente Terneuzen) established North Sea Port Talent. The experience of the partnership and the clear mandate of the new organisation clears the way to address the labour sourcing challenges of the many and varied partners of the Port and its surrounding areas.

It’s strongly believed that North Sea Port Talent will help move players from a competitive, zero-sum talent market environment to a more cooperative model with shared resources and goals. This will serve to increase the overall size of the available talent pool, as well as its quality and suitability.

The initiative is currently actively pursuing two workstreams. The first is working to operationalise North Sea Port Talent as a fully functional organisation. The second is piloting a number of hands-on trial projects currently focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) profiles.

“The partners involved all showcased an innovative and collaborative mindset. It was truly inspiring to support and advise them.”

Elien Van De Vyver, Manager at Deloitte

The North Sea Port is a central hub in Europe with a focus on multi-modality and transiting a wide variety of goods, creating an impact on global trade.

About North Sea Port

North Sea Port is the 60-kilometre-long cross-border port area that stretches from Vlissingen on the North Sea coast in the Netherlands, some 32 kilometres inland to Ghent in Belgium. It’s a central hub in Europe with a focus on multi-modality and transiting a wide variety of goods, creating an impact on global trade. The strategic location and surrounding capacity mean the port still has significant growth potential and the opportunity to provide long-term employment growth to the Ghent region.

To further actualise the economic potential of the port, several stakeholders, both Flemish and Dutch, committed to developing a port action plan, focused on employment and labour mobility: publicising vacancies, and providing vacancy-oriented training and cross-border access to the port. Another critical deliverable was increasing the sustainability of the talent pool. The port and related companies are important employers for the whole region. Thus the initiative aimed to identify the appropriate profiles of potential employees and ensure these profiles were attracted to, and kept, in the region.