For its 3rd edition (2018-2023) the Junior Programme starts recruitment of first participants on 10 September. What does this Programme consist of?
The Junior Programme offers some thirty young professionals aged 30 or less and originating from a country of the European Union an opportunity to acquire first field experience in international cooperation. The youths are assigned to one of our partner countries to contribute to a development project in the field for 1 to 2 years. Such a project is either implemented by Enabel or by one of the 24 partner NGOs affiliated to the Junior Programme. Today, more than half the world’s population is under 30. These young people are creative and idealistic and they can change the world. The Junior Programme aims to contribute to the emergence of a generation of young innovative experts who are committed to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The latest edition of the Junior Programme has a broader recruitment policy. Can you explain how it works?
Indeed, applications are not limited any more to youths who aim to pursue a career in development cooperation. In the past, the Programme was a stepping stone for a job in international cooperation. The desire to work in cooperation was a condition sine qua non to join the Junior Programme. Since this new of the Programme operates under the Sustainable Development Goals, we primarily expect participants to be actively and on the long run engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, they may very well, at the end of their Junior experience, work for the private sector, in a renewable energy company, for instance. Or even in a more traditional sector, but engage outside their career in sustainable development associations. We want them to become actors and spokespersons at the service of the Sustainable Development Goals.
"We want to contribute to creating a generation that is aware, active and engaged and that daily incarnates the values of
How is this process running?
We organise two calls for projects per year. With every call we invite our partner NGOs and Enabel to submit job openings for which they want a Junior Expert financed by the Junior Programme. If their request is accepted, we assign a young professional recruited for the job to them.
The number of jobs is lower than in earlier editions of the Junior Programme, but, instead, they will be of higher quality. We now use several criteria and an analytical grid to evaluate each proposed job. These criteria comprise the added value of the Junior Expert for the project, but also the added value of the project for the Junior Expert, the innovative nature of the job, the relation with local realities and with the Sustainable Development Goals, or networking/partnership development opportunities for the youths.
At the same time, qualifications also play an important role. Our survey of needs within Enabel and the partner NGOs helped us better understand which competencies are currently lacking. This way we can also guarantee the participants to the Programme that they get a professional opportunity which contributes to further their career in cooperation, if they want so. We know that management jobs and specialists constitute a genuine challenge for the sector. So we will balance on the one hand generalist profiles typical for future managers and on the other hand the specialist profiles such as bio-engineers, civil engineers and financial and digitisation specialists.
Applicants who are retained will have a 2-week pre-departure briefing, allowing them to better understand their job environment and its particulars.