Netherlands | Social entrepreneurship

More than just earning money

1 June 2021 10:43

From rising unemployment to an urgent shortage of personnel: the Dutch job market is one of extremes. Code Gorilla has found an elegant solution to both problems: training people who have trouble finding paid employment to work in a sector with a shortage of candidates.

Diem Do from Code Gorilla


start collaboration Rabo Foundation and Code Gorilla


people completed the Code Gorilla IT-boot camp


of the participants found a job


people found a job through a contract with the City of Groningen

The challenge

Work is about more than just earning money. It’s a way for people to participate in society and develop their talents. Unemployment has risen due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has made applying for a job even harder for people who already had problems finding paid employment. For them, the competition in the job market is only getting worse.

Code Gorilla: a smart connection

Fortunately, Code Gorilla can help people find paid employment even under these trying circumstances. Their secret? The social enterprise brings people who have trouble finding jobs into contact with IT companies; a sector with an urgent shortage of personnel. Code Gorilla plays a vital role as an intermediary, because IT companies usually select only young, well-educated people with experience on the job.

The right skills

During a three-month boot camp, Code Gorilla trains participants as junior coders and programmers, teaching them the programming language that is most in demand at the moment. The participants can also work on their social skills and other obstacles on the path to paid employment. To determine whether the participants have an affinity for working in IT, they are asked to study at home for a month and then complete a selection procedure first. Code Gorilla can also mentor the boot camp participants at their new workplace for up to a year after they are placed with a company.

“Code Gorilla brings people who have trouble finding jobs into contact with IT companies.”

More time

One of the reasons why Code Gorilla can have such an impact is its expansive network. The social enterprise has close ties to the regional business community and the government, where more and more of its participants are finding jobs. As a result, 70 percent of the boot camp participants go on to paid employment. But Code Gorilla wants to do more, so it’s working on a two-year work training course especially for people who need more than three months to learn the ropes. During the course, they can work on their social skills, resilience, fear of failure and fear of public speaking.

Code Gorilla’s impact

Code Gorilla impact since its inception in 2017:

    More than 120 people successfully completed the boot camp and found paid employment. More than 90% of the boot camp participants find jobs. 45 people found employment thanks to a contract with the City of Groningen.

Rabo Foundation and Code Gorilla

By supporting Code Gorilla, Rabo Foundation can help build on a more inclusive society and greater self-reliance. Social enterprises like Code Gorilla, which put society’s interests ahead of the market, need more time to become economically independent. With a loan, we can offer Code Gorilla the time they need to scale up the two-year program over the next five years. Code Gorilla also plans on expanding its activities to the east of the country. In addition, Rabo Foundation has made a one-time donation for lesson materials and laptops to lend out, so that people who don’t own their own computer can still participate in the Code Gorilla boot camp.

Explore our impact report ‘Social Entrepeneurship’ to find out more about our results in 2020. Here you can also find more stories that showcase our contribution to an inclusive society in the Netherlands.