Senior HR Counsellor, Swiss Life
Faculty of Management Sciences
Namibia University of Science and Technology
January 23 – February 09, 2019
Career Starter Week (CSW)
Cooperation with university staff
The local staff of the university were very accommodating and helpful, with regard to both the program and personal matters. We received all the support we needed. Already on the first day after our arrival, we were invited to a coordination meeting with lunch, attended by the responsible persons connected with the course. The local program manager, Nico Smit, held the threads together and ensured effectively and courteously that all organizational aspects of the courses were secured. This included coordination with the local guest speakers. I was impressed with how competently they presented and conducted workshops with the students, bringing in the indispensable local touch that we B360 professionals cannot provide. Their input made our courses effective. In addition, all encounters were personally enriching and marked by great esteem.
Cooperation with students
I perceived the students as curious and keen to learn new things. They are extremely friendly and respectful, both towards the lecturers and with their peers. One should not be deceived by the first impression that the students are cautious and wait-and-see; presentations and long explanations do not only have a sleep-inducing effect in Namibia. Once trust is built and with engaging exercises, it is always possible to create a lively, highly interactive working atmosphere. Especially the structured work in groups was appreciated and produced very good results. The students were especially grateful for the feedback on their CV, their professional appearance and their presentations in groups and in the plenary; great progress was quickly noticeable here. Often almost unimagined talents came to light that would have remained unrecognized under other circumstances. Participating in this development was a great experience.
Impact and win-win
The "Career Starter Week" course came in particularly well suited for students in their final year of study; they are aware that they have to prove themselves in a tense job market. From the very beginning, the students were clearly focused on the following points: having a professional CV, performing professionally and passing the job interview successfully; building a network and having a job search strategy. In the course of the workshop more and more was added: standing in front of large groups and presenting authentically. The analytical work in the case studies was also carried out with great commitment. The inputs from local specialists (application, job market, appearance, business development and running a business) were indispensable supplements to the courses. It was remarkable that LinkedIn is largely unknown to students, but is seen by local HR specialists and other professionals as an indispensable element of professional life.
Having the opportunity to work with young people in Namibia was a motivating and personally enriching experience for me. I am convinced that education and development is the best we have to offer for the young people as well as for the whole country. The discreet, friendly and respectful tone of the students and members of the university support cooperation considerably, provided that we can understand and appreciate cultural differences and take them as a starting point to create synergies and use them fruitfully. Thanks for this great experience.