"If it were up to me, I'd continue learning all my life"

Written by
Strukton Corporate
Published on
19 January 2018
Category
Blogs

Strukton offers (young) employees plenty of opportunities for personal development.

Arjan van den Berg

Arjan van den Berg

"It helps me work together better and I do my job more efficiently"

Arjan van den Berg (25, contract manager at Strukton Worksphere) has been working for Strukton for four years and agrees with that. He took part in the Strukton FIT programme and is now doing Strukton Young Management.

I'm delighted with the opportunities that Strukton offers. Management makes it clear how important personnel development is. With the right arguments, you can apply to do any course you want. So I do. I'm young, I've just finished studying and personal development is very important to me. And not just for me, but also for Strukton.
Take the Strukton FIT programme: a 2.5 year programme in which you learn how to develop on a personal level and get to know the organisation better. Together with a regular group - a new one starts every six months - you do various courses. Project-based cooperation was studied in detail, for example. You might think that you have a good idea what cooperation is, but I found there was a lot I didn't know. How are project groups formed, what are the limiting conditions for project-based cooperation, how are processes organised around companies and client relations, what procedures are there? All these questions were addressed. We obviously had to apply this in an assignment, whereby we had to do a project for a client. My fellow group members and I were keen to complete the task fast and effectively. Ambitious as we were, we fell into the trainer's trap with open eyes. What was the case? We didn't have enough information to do the project well. The solution was naturally to go back to the client and get additional information. I must say it was a huge eye-opener. And of course, each course provided its own revelation or tips and tricks to apply in practice.

Arjan van den Berg voor de groep

Focus on the discussion and the relation
On a personal level too, I learned a lot during the FIT programme. I'm quite an active type who finds it hard to sit still. I knew that before the training. But what I didn't realise is that it can get in the way of discussions with others. While someone is talking, I might already be thinking about a solution or other non-relevant issues. That's not only distracting, it means I miss what the other person is saying. And that can come across as not being interested in them even though I am. During the training, I not only learned that but was also given tools to help me manage it. So a total focus on the discussion and avoid any distractions. No laptop in front of me, no buzzing or vibrating phone. And if I do go off on a tangent, I can be honest and tell the person in front of me. 'Sorry, I got distracted for a moment and missed what you just said. Could you say it again?'

"I love the idea that we can achieve change in the organisation with our plan"

One of the twelve
You could say that I experienced some real personal development over these two years. I also love applying all that knowledge in my work. It helps me work together with others better and I do my job more efficiently. In short, it all becomes more fun. And that's 'just' the FIT programme. Because I've now moved on to Strukton Young Management, a one-year programme for young professionals with management potential. There's a very stringent selection for the programme. I was proposed by the HR manager for my region and my manager. I also had to prepare a pitch. In ten minutes, I had to convince the selection committee why I should be given a place on the programme. Nerve-wracking, but I made it as one of the twelve lucky ones.

Step sideways or upwards
Strukton Young Management is mainly about - of course - management skills. This programme consists of six module sessions during which you work on various subjects. We have guest speakers, from inside and outside the organisation. It's interesting to learn what the consequences are at a higher level of actions and decisions made at a lower level and vice versa. I'm looking forward to the final assignment in which, as a group, we'll be looking for a realistic and feasible solution for something that is currently an issue at Strukton. It's like a thesis, but then more practically oriented. Our plan will be submitted to the board and we'll talk to the management of the subsidiaries, for example. This contributes to my own development, my knowledge of the organisation and building my network. I love the idea that we can achieve change in the organisation with our plan. 
I'll be able to use the knowledge I've acquired so far in the FIT programme and Strukton Young Management for my future. If it were up to me, I'd take a new step in my career every three years. That might be upwards or sideways. That gives me the opportunity to continue learning. If it were up to me, I'd continue developing all my working life.

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