The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development

Training course for Staff of Asian Alumni Centres

Training for staff of Alumni Centres (AC) of six Asian partners within SIMPLE project was held at BOKU University in Vienna, Austria, during week 9 – 13 October, 2017.

The overall objective of the training was the empoverment of university staff and their competences at the Alumni or Career Centres.

Staff from these three Asian partner countries participated at the training: University of Battambang, Royal University of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, Prince of Songkla University, Tadulako University, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) together with their European partner universities: Gent University, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, BOKU University.

The final Programme for the whole week was full of practical group excercises, case studies,  interesting guests and their presentations complemented by city and university campus tours.

 

On Monday morning all participants were introduced to each other and Jana Mandíková (Czech University of Life Sciences Prague), from the project coordinator team, introduced a SIMPLE project and its phases. Followed by the session of European experiances with Alumni and Career Centers presented by BOKU University seeing the main aim of the AC in contacting and selection of companies, observe other job platforms, soft skill training, expand in social media, job fairs or other talks with invited speakers/professionals. In Europe especialy in Austria, there has been a huge development of AC/CC when they published 80 jobs/year till now – 1.300 jobs/year but still there are many future challenges how to be an active job platborm and strenghten cooperation within the platform, competition with other job platforms, fundraising issues, etc.

As one of the main aims of the SIMPLE project is not only the establishment and improvemnet of the AC/CC but also set up Guidelines of Best Practices of Alumni Centers based on knowledge and experiences from European and non-European Universities. The summarized Guidelines and the Best Practices Study are based on literature study and summarized main findings from collected resources. One of the findinfs is that most of the AC/CC have their websited only in their local languages, only the general information is translated in English and most of the universities have contacts with their alumni only at the national level, in most cases they do not include international students in their databases even if the trend is reverse as majority of the European universities have more and more international students in their English programmes. This trend is not only at European level as Asian partners confirmed phenomenon. The whole day way completed by BOKU experience with provided services to registered Alumni members at AC, administration of those members and the newly founded Mentoring Project as one of the registered members benefits and a very good tool how to connect a profession with a student/future alumni.

 

On Tuesday, all participants were welcomed by a BOKU Rector Univ. Prof. Dipl. – Ing. Dr. Martin Gerzabek who introduced the unique and long BOKU history, international relations and AC and its value for society.  Kerstin Fuhrmann from BOKU explained Marketing strategies used at BOKU AC and CC and Invited speakers from BIOMIN company Birgit leitner MA introduced job possibilities for students or alumni in their company under the umbrella of Erber Group. BIOMIN is a leader in animal nutrition and health, develops and produces feed additives, premixes and services for the improvement of animal performance, in an economically viable way. The afternoon session was focused on social media training with Mag. Michaela Wein mainly focused on work with Facebook and LinkedIn as the main tools of communication for AC/CC. Participants had an opportunity to improve their skills setting up a AC/CC profile, networking with partners and alumni, brainstorming of the content ideas, blogs and discussions and security and settings issues.

Other part of the training was focused on How to find an Internships at BOKU and study related cooperation with companies with Prof. DI Dr. hans -Peter Kaul. In conclusion, most of the students find their own place where to do their internship. BOKU is just establishing a network between the university and a company. Furthermore, two students who participated in foreign country doing their research Erasmus training or attended a compulsory internship in a company presented their professional experiences from field. As one of the main roles of AC is PR and keeping updated alumni which is achieved by BOKU Alumni Magazine which contains the most current and important topics for its Alumni readers, career paths, job opportunities, news from university and information about alumni. All participants got descriptive guideline how to create their own magazines which is specificaly focused only on small circle of university alumni. Also, they got an idea what should be a content and how to make it attractive and useful.

 

Thursday session were focused on Services for companies which are offered by Alumni Centres mostly established on publishing adds on the Alumni Centre website and publishing their job offers at the website or in magazines. The most interactive and inspiring session with topic ‘Event – Job Week or Fair/Career Days/Career Calling’ and ‘Internship Day’ was presented  and described in detail and schedule guide for all participants followed by practical excercise where all Asian partners with European colleagues collaboration could try to organize simillar event at their university. The most important parts of event planning and its constraints how to set up and organize such an event were identified to avoid them during the implementation in upcoming year.

As another example of sucessful story and good experience of university PR was presentation of Alumni Day organized for former alumni at BOKU university. All this possible events which can be organized by AC at Asian universities can be complemented by CV checks or Soft Skills Seminars which are also a quite common services offered by AC to its registered members.

 

At the end of the training the head of  BOKU Center for International Relations (CIR) Margarita Calderón-PeterObRätin Dr. give a feedback on the all workships  including three best activities of BOKU AC and CC which Asian partners want to implement at their home university, services which they consider as non-realistic to implement in Asia, and suggestions of improvement at BOKUlevel. Also, Asian partners had to define timeline of implementing the activities at the home institution, preparation of the action plan for coopration with non-academic sector, the organization of internships in curricula and fix dates for Carrer Days in Asia for each country and university. Petra Chaloupková as a Project Coordinator from CULS presented the next activities among the responsible members within the SIMPLE project, set up the upcoming meetings, and all participants took a part in selection process of design of Guidelines of Best Practices of AC.

More information and updates about the project find here:

 

 

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