Unique social enterprise collaboration between Presikhaaf Bedrijven and Royal Ahrend N.V.

Unique social enterprise collaboration between Presikhaaf Bedrijven and Royal Ahrend N.V.

Presikhaaf Bedrijven and Royal Ahrend N.V. today signed a long-term cooperation agreement. Royal Ahrend N.V. thereby commits to the development, production and sales of furniture for primary and secondary education, while Presikhaaf provides the detachment, guidance and support of individuals with a disadvantaged position in the labour market (SW’ers).

Royal Ahrend N.V. thereby commits to the development, production and sales of furniture for primary and secondary education, while Presikhaaf provides the detachment, guidance and support of individuals with a disadvantaged position in the labour market (SW’ers) for which Ahrend enters a long-term detachment agreement with Presikhaaf Bedrijven. All employees of Presikhaaf School Furniture (190 SW’ers and 40 additional staff members) will keep their jobs.

Presikhaaf Bedrijven is the human and labour development company for the region of Central Gelderland. The organisation is part of eleven municipals in this region, and aims to support individuals with a disadvantaged position in acquiring a job in a regular work environment. In this context the organisation has been producing furniture for primary and secondary education for more than fifty years, under the name Presikhaaf School Furniture.

This intensive collaboration between Ahrend and Presikhaaf Bedrijven entails that Ahrend will further develop the school furniture activities. They will be continued under the existing name Presikhaaf School Furniture at Presikhaaf’s existing location, and will be continued with all employees. Presikhaaf Bedrijven will thereby primarily be focusing on the detachment and the intensive coaching and developing of all involved SW’ers.

CEO of Royal Ahrend, Eugène Sterken, explains: “By means of this collaboration we join our forces in the field of innovative school furniture and a strong social policy. Presikhaaf School Furniture will further specialise under Royal Ahrend N.V.  as a supplier of timeless and solid furniture for primary and secondary education. A great brand with character! I am therefore confident that we will succeed with the help of all stakeholders to achieve the shared ambition of Ahrend, Presikhaaf Bedrijven and the involved municipalities to maintain these jobs for the region, especially for those belonging to the Participation Act. I am certain that through this collaboration we can even better respond to the desired needs of school boards and schools in primary and secondary education.”

Joost van Loon, CEO of Presikhaaf Bedrijven, welcomes the proposed collaboration: "This collaboration fits perfectly with our policy to be able to collaborate with companies that want to -  and can - provide SW’ers a regular work environment. The collaboration with Ahrend helps maintain jobs in the region and provides continuity in service for our clients.”

 “We can, thanks to the collaboration in the region, completely concentrate on the detachment, optimal guidance and development of people with a work disability. Ahrend will further expand the company. Overall, a true win-win situation for both the educational institutions and the employees involved, as for Presikhaaf Bedrijven and Ahrend.” says Van Loon.

Participation Act

With this collaboration Ahrend and Presikhaaf fulfil the objectives from the Participation Act which has been enforced since 1st January 2015. The objective of the Act is to improve employment of people who are distanced from the labour market.

Joost van Loon: “The Participation Act is a source of inspiration to us when it comes to collaborations of social entrepreneurship. We hope to set the tone in the Netherlands and that others will lead by example. In our point of view this step shows that people with an occupational disadvantage can perfectly be employed when you take their restrictions into account. They possess qualities that Ahrend can gladly use and it shows that these people can produce products of excellent quality of which you can be proud of.”

Besides the social function, according to Ahrend-CEO Sterken, it is possible to lead the company in a professional manner. “The manufacturing facility is modern and scalable, and the quality and dedication of the employees at Presikhaaf School Furniture are excellent.  In addition, Ahrend expects to achieve substantial benefits through scale and efficiency improvements. That way we can work with the staff and Presikhaaf Bedrijven to ensure that educational institutions can continue to work with the high quality furniture of Presikhaaf School Furniture that meet their requirements and wishes.”

Download the press release here.