What is Blue Road Academy (formerly RefugeeForce)? How You Can Get Involved

By Gaspar Rodriguez

Europe is facing a big problem. Not the refugee crisis problem ingrained in the media, but a labor and social integration problem.

After being granted asylum status, many refugees remain unemployed or settle for temporary and low-skilled work to survive. ​Just one in three refugees between the ages of 15 and 64 living in the Netherlands have a paid job. ​​Only 10% of those who received refugee status in 2017 found a job relatively quickly. Across the EU, refugees are 22.1% more likely to be unemployed than other migrants with similar characteristics.

Taking a hard look at this situation, myself and my co-founders Nick Broekema and Marielle Schweickart, took a chance to dream big and launch our own way to help. Out of this common ambition, Blue Road Academy (formerly RefugeeForce) was born in Amsterdam in 2018.

“The biggest outcome we can achieve is changing the conversation about refugees in terms of how their labour potential is portrayed, as well as achieving ways that they can add value by finding a job they want to do — integrating into a new society on their own terms.” 

– Gaspar Rodriguez, Blue Road Academy co-founder

Blue Road Academy is a social enterprise that develops the skills and careers of newcomers while bringing talent and diversity to the Salesforce ecosystem. Our program prepares participants with comprehensive technical and professional Salesforce training over a period of 3 months, equipping them with the tools and networks to flourish in the growing tech sector. Our mission is to boost the underemployed and unemployed newcomer population looking for careers in technology, and bridge the digital-skills and talent gap in Europe.

Blue Road Academy is a community-based and Salesforce-native organization, leveraging the Salesforce platform and the Trailblazer Community for all operational and program activities.

Our Program

In order to build bridges between refugees and the tech sector, there are three components core to our program:

  1. Class-based, intensive Salesforce skills training focused on the Certified Administrator and Associate  credentials (with the additional option of the App Builder Certification).
  2. Professional performance training that provides soft skills.
  3. Building a professional network with the Salesforce Community by attending events, Salesforce Saturdays, and participating in a mentorship program with Salesforce employees.

When these three areas come together for each participant, we have a great shot at achieving our mission. To date, we have successfully trained more than 200 newcomers in The Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. We are also currently running pilot programs in Sweden and Denmark. Of those who have completed the program, more than 150 Salesforce certifications have been achieved by alumni, and more than 95 Salesforce roles have been created by our loyal recruitment partners.

How Can You Get Involved?

We have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity from the incredible Salesforce community. From guest instructors, admin panel members, mentors, inspirational speakers, and donors, many great people have stepped up to help us succeed. Our Alumni have been able to participate in Salesforce events and engage with user groups across the respective countries. Becoming a part of the Salesforce community is absolutely key to the success of our program.

If you want to hire our alumni, or volunteer as a trainer, speaker, or mentor, please contact us.

Salesforce is a big blue ocean. Without knowing where the boundaries are or having something to hold-on to, participants start to float in endless cloud jargon. Alumni need internships or traineeships to help them answer important questions — how do people use Salesforce in their day to day jobs? How can I apply my new skills in a real business environment? Which Salesforce career path is right for me?

If you have an opportunity to provide an internship or traineeship, please reach out

Do You Want to Launch Your Career in Tech?

Join a cohort of like-minded and motivated professionals to learn in-demand technical skills and grow your network. You can apply directly here.

Do you know someone who would be a great fit for this program? Please forward our call for applicants 📢📢📢

The Author

Gaspar Rodriguez

Senior Salesforce Consultant | Co-founder @ Blue Road Academy | Possibilist

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