Trainees, what could we do without them? For decades I already work with them and it has always been a pleasure; new ideas, enthusiasm and a positive attitude, characteristics of almost all trainees.
I insist that we treat trainees as regular colleagues and that they can function as such. We like to give them real responsibilities and involve them in the organization of events as it useful for them to experience how a bigger organization manages complex events.
I asked some of our trainees about their experiences.
Eva worked with the cultural section. This summer there was a great number of activities. She was, just like the other trainees, part of the practical organization of all of them; in addition she was involved in the media side of all this. Her website responsibilities were shared with Necmiye as even trainees at times do need free time. Eva has left at the beginning of September, but for her, as for many others at the Consulate, the highlight was the organization this summer of the live streaming of the world championship soccer: “it was a great success and we even had to work with waiting lists. In the end we received 4.900 guests and had to turn down 1900. I loved it. The organization, 100’s of mails per week and then the soccer evenings themselves, in the beautiful garden of the Consulate. It was very special to share these evenings with 800-900 Turkish and Dutch guests at a time. And you feel proud, as you know that this was only made possible thanks to a group effort in which the trainees played an important role”.
At the MATRA section (Social Transformation and Human Rights) much is required from a trainee. This is the only section where a trainee has to be fluent in Turkish. He/she is part of the whole project cycle, is often asked to represent the Consulate at meeting and, as with all trainees, can find him/herself involved in one of the many activities of the Consulate, from soccer to open monuments day to a book presentation. In the past months Seda worked with us and often had to act very independently: “I learned most because of the visits to projects. I went, but this was jut one of the visits, to a youth prison. I got to know the bureaucracy much better and had to communicate with children in that prison. All in all it was a very special experience.”
Yasar stayed for half a year with the economic section. Part of his time he worked on trade related issues like the preparation of the visit by Dutch Trade Minister Ploumen in June, and partly he worked with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), assisting Arife, the NFIA representative in Istanbul. He joined her on some fact finding missions through Turkey. Especially the first months were very busy, but also very satisfying. Yasar did very practical things, but was at times also in direct contact with CEO’s of important companies. “I really liked my stay here. It is also a fantastic feeling to receive, after hard work, personal compliments from the Minister, the Ambassador and the Consul General.”
And as all trainees, Yasar did many different things; even starring in a short film my son had to make for school….
From this summer we also have a social media trainee: Necmiye. She will stay till the end of the year and in a way is also my personal media assistant. Her job is very broad and includes bringing our social media experience and exposure to a higher level. She assists me in writing blogs, Turkish language tweets and has an almost full time job in upgrading our website. Thanks to Necmiye we started with infographics and Prezi presentations. Fortunately her assessment of me is ok: “Our Consul General is open minded and stimulates me to be creative and have new ideas, like infographics or presentations on YouTube. This makes my traineeship very challenging and rewarding. I learn a lot, also because the Consul General shares his experience with me”.
Trainees are students and have, of course, certain obligations towards study and university, which we respect, but at the same time we like them to contribute towards our professional goals.
For more information on traineeships at the Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul (info in Dutch language only): http://istanboel.nlconsulaat.org/organization/vacatures/stages-op-het-consulaat-generaal.html