Written by Bart Ensing
About eight months ago, I was driving from Groningen to Amsterdam for my interview at DPA. After having sailed around Spitsbergen for seven months, I needed a new project toward which to put my energy.
The Next Chapter
Over the last several years, I had worked in the event and entertainment industry and I was now on my way to speak with a business unit manager of a company that specializes in subcontracting. To be honest, that did not sound very exciting. But a friend who was working for this company advised me to come and have a chat, so there I was.
My one hour interview turned into a story that lasted about two hours and really inspired me! “Can you start in two weeks?” “Uh, yes!” I mean, why not? The only thing I had to do was to find a house in or around Amsterdam, buy a new wardrobe and move my belongings. So I did.
Welcome to Dentistry
Most of the time, you only start getting interested in a field of study when you are actually working in that field. And of course, from the moment I grew my set of teeth I went to the dentist for my check-up every six months, but I never knew that there is a huge shortage of dentists in the Netherlands — a shortage that is only going to increase in the upcoming ten years.
Every year, about two hundred students finish their dental studies at universities in the Netherlands, but we need double that amount of graduates. Therefore, we have to attract talented dentists from within the European Union to make sure we don’t end up with enormous waiting lists. Mission noted!
Making a Difference
I have worked in recruitment before. I worked for a company that helped the most talented people in the Netherlands find an even better job than the great job they were already working. That wasn’t very fulfilling to me, and compared to that job I feel like we are really solving a problem here at DPA. Because, though we have a shortage of dentists, there is an enormous surplus in Spain.
As a result, young and talented Spanish dentists are jobless: people my age can hardly find a job after finishing their studies, and if they do find a job, they work for a salary that isn’t high enough to support living on their own. I can’t picture a Dutch dentist finding him or herself in the same situation.
Something Different Every Day
In the meanwhile, eight months have passed and in that time we have organized multiple events to meet dentists in Spain. Every other month I fly to Austria to our language center, where I am in charge of combining pleasure with learning the Dutch language using games and activities. It really feels like I can maximise my talents for DPA’s dental project.
Since I started working at DPA, twenty-eight dentists have finished the Dutch course and have started working in Holland, and another ten will start soon after the New Year. We create a special bond with the dentists because we see them multiple times during their transition from their home country to the learning center in Austria, and finally into the Netherlands.
Practice What You preach
During my first work week, a group of dentists had just finished their course in Austria and the DPA team picked them up from the airport to treat them to drinks and dinner. That day I met Javier and his girlfriend, Daniella, a dental couple from Madrid that were clearly spontaneous and enthusiastic people.
Since my transition from Groningen to Haarlem (a city close to Amsterdam), I hadn’t seen a dentist. It was time to find a new dentist for my regular check-up, and I thought, let’s practice what I preach, so I made an appointment at the “Tandzorg” dental clinic in Delft.
The well-known butterflies I usually have when I go to the dentist were instantly taken away when I saw the happy faces of Javier and Deiny (who also finished her language course and started working in Delft in November). My dental visit changed from being an obligatory appointment into something I was actually looking forward to.
And guess what? Zero cavities!