hidden champions

A truck ride of homelessness

The CWS employee magazine
Hidden champion at CWS
Working as a service driver at CWS Workwear in Amsterdam, Gerrie Gelmers is one of the lucky people who have found their dream job. But the road there was not easy. Not so long ago, Gerry was living on the street. Participating in the reality TV programme “The Amsterdam Project” enabled him to extricate himself from his situation. The determination Gerrie has shown in achieving this, makes him this edition’s “Hidden Champion”.

1. Tell us about “The Amsterdam Project” and your participation in the programme. 
Back when I was homeless, I was approached by the show’s presenter Beau van Erven and eventually selected to participate. Basically, the people who run the program give you money to help improve your life situation. I also received help while looking for a new home and work. Still, I really needed to stay focused.

Gerrie Gelmers, Service driver CWS Workwear Netherlands

2. How did you come to work at CWS?
My dream always was to be a truck driver, so I spent part of the programme’s money to get my truck driver’s license. Then, I applied at CWS. I had a little support, but I also needed to prove myself. I must have left a good impression too, because I got the job!

3. What have you learned since you started at CWS?
My colleagues were fantastic, there’s a great team spirit here. They taught me everything I needed to know. Now I have my own route as a service driver. I think the most important thing is that I have regained my confidence. I dare to look into the future. Five years ago, that would have been unthinkable.

4. How do you like the daily work?
I started at CWS Hygiene and then moved to Workwear due to the coronavirus crisis. I was lucky with some help. And no matter how hopeless the situation is, with the right support and perseverance, anyone can succeed!

More about the topic

The Amsterdam Project is a Dutch reality TV programme that follows five homeless people for a year. At the beginning, the candidates receive a unique offer: a credit card with 10,000 euros and access to a team of social workers who they can contact day and night. The question: Will the candidates be able to escape homelessness?