75 % of students participated in ITMC program (Intership. Training. Mentoring. & Coaching) and received their labor contracts
The company - Business Development Capital launched ITMC program (Internship, Training, Mentoring and Coaching) and has taken a new niche in the relationship between education and business, in the autumn of 2015. In the first round of the social project 20 people took part in the preparation and integration of students into the labor market, the second ITMC program was expanded up to 40 students. Two thirds of the graduates of the program were able to prove their qualification on the basis of a three-month training and received offers of employment from companies participating in the project. Social projects play major role nowadays. Business Development Capital (BDC) company’s executives Viorica Cherbushka and Catherine Koroli told to the head of InfoMarket Agency about the prospects of development programs and plans for the nearest future.
InfoMarket: How did the idea to conduct ITMC program development originated?
Viorica CHERBUSHKA: We noticed a large turnover of young personnel in local companies but many of those employees went abroad. Students come to work after university but do not stay for a long time there. Employers are investing in both financial and time resources but still employees leave because companies do not create the necessary environment for the young people, where people would have developed in the right direction. There are no business skills of integration of new employees. Integration is one of the most important components, especially for unexperienced workers. Another resulting problem is that most companies, when hiring, require one or two years of experience, so it is extremely difficult for graduates to enter the door without any experience in particular industry.
InfoMarket: What is exactly done to prepare students for future work?
Catherine KOROLI: The project is based on four components: an internship in successful local companies, participation in training, developing skills necessary for successful integration into different companies, we also provide coaching in the field of mentoring and practice sessions with business trainers, aimed at professional orientation of graduates. Thus, students receive comprehensive training in different directions. We guide students to work-practice companies at the beginning of the program, depending on their specialty and the direction which they want to develop.Distribution to companies is also coordinated with employers and it is based on the number of vacancies and requirements for the candidates, because the ultimate goal of the project is successful employment of graduates. We invite business trainers to teach students communication skills and sales conduction. It is impossible to get started without those simple things. For example, the first session is called "Mission, Vision and Goals": it is about how to set a goal and reach it, steps to take and priorities. It is important to control emotions, because working environments are different, and customers are not always happy.Coaches teach stress management, time management and many more, which helps to face and handle tasks at the beginning of career. Most Moldovan companies, when hiring, demand from the candidates some work experience and how could a fresh graduated student have any experience? One of the goals of the program is gaining practical experience during three months training course, delivering the quality and intensive practice for three months, so that the students could have covered the "gap" and other companies could give them jobs. A significant contribution to the development and training of graduates make business coaches at a particular workplace.Coaches are helping new employees to integrate into work environment, understand corporate culture and learn the skills that are expected by the employer effectively. ITMC program takes responsibility for the development of coaching system and motivation of new employees, as well as 5-days training course to employees of the participant companies and partners.
InfoMarket: Who can get involved into ITMC program?
Catherine KOROLI: The project is targeted for undergraduates studying in universities or graduates, as well as students of professional schools and colleges.
Curriculums to coincide with a period of practical training each target group: Spring ITMC program focuses more on the university students, autumn - colleges.
InfoMarket: How is the shortlisting of students done? Is there a fee to participate in the program?
Viorica CHERBUSHKA: We select candidates on the basis of interviews and the main criteria for evaluation - is motivation. We want to invest in youth, who are ready to develop themselves and make some efforts. Participation in the program requires a nominal fee from the students, as we want only motivated and responsible people in the program.
InfoMarket: What is the project financing?
Viorica CHERBUSHKA: The most part of the program financed by our company - Business Development Capital. We also have sponsors from the number of companies which already participated or intend to participate in this project. 11 companies participated in autumn, another 14 companies participated in spring and we noticed willingness from different business companies to participate in this project. This year, the participant companies not only hired students for a practice course but also engaged their employees for training purposes.
We would also like to note that we work with the best trainers in Moldova and they supported the project for free and made a significant contribution to the development and motivation of the students. I must say that in the organization of trainings we involved ZIPhouse (educational network) formed at the Technical University of Moldova, which provides us with a very affordable cost of renting premises.
InfoMarket: Which business sectors are covered by this project?
Viorica CHERBUSHKA: Financial services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, passenger transportation, the HoReCa and others...
InfoMarket: Almost all of the ITMC program graduates got jobs. What is the level of their salaries today?
Catherine KOROLI: To our knowledge, the salaries for those who have found work – starting from 3500 lei to 5500 lei and, of course, the salaries must grow depending on the quality of the performance.
InfoMarket: Every year, thousands of graduates of universities and colleges enter the labor market and cannot find their niche. Will you bring your project to the national level?
Viorica CHERBUSHKA: If I were the Minister of Education, I would certainly have paid attention to such a project. The methodology is developed and verified. Moldovan companies are interested in such a project - they do not have enough qualified staff and there are students who want to participate and have an early growth and as a result an employment. Financial resources can be found - in the European Union or from other investors. In my opinion, this program must be implemented at the national level. There is a great demand of employees at the labor market for example, design industry, machine operators and technology etc... In addition, such projects may be of interest for youth to stay in the country, to convince them not to leave the country. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, on January 1st 2014 about 135.5 thousands of young specialists from Moldova are working abroad.
InfoMarket: How do you think, what period of time required to bring this project to a national level?
Viorica CHERBUSHKA: This can be done in a short period of time if the government considers this project important and, if resources for investment in youth development can be found. The more those young people are leaving the country the more local companies are in great demand of "fresh blood workers" and this project could drastically change the situation in a positive aspect. Establishing a national caliber program is not a "rocket science" and it is not difficult to test the program and make it work for students but there is required understanding of its importance for locals and desire to bring it into life.
Students concerns about this project are very high, 270 candidates were willing to subscribe to this program in spring and there were only 40 available seats. Today we can provide training to two groups of 20 people with our resources and funding and we have an interest on the part of employers, they can provide additional 20 seats this autumn. Of course, there are some financial difficulties but we can find the resources - from companies, from donors or crowdfunding...
If we have necessary resources, we are able to train 400 students twice a year, considering current demand at labor market, we just need financial support. We are confident that this program should be maintained at the national level.
InfoMarket: Your company - Business Development Capital - came up with this project and successfully conducted the program. What is your interest in the ITMC?
Catherine KOROLI: We are not trying to make money on this project but we are investing in it. We build a platform as a business model, we form partnerships with companies and establish relationships with them and those companies could see clearly that we represent the interests of employers and employees only. Basically, the founders and BDC team started the company with this project to show our partners that we begin our business not because of mercantile interest but social point of view. It is very important to develop corporate values of doing business. Thereby forming public image and reputation, creates a bond which we can use in the future. We have already developed good partnerships and strong relationships with some companies which are involved in the ITMC program, and those companies are also looking forward to cooperate with us, they’re considering our company as a responsible and reliable partner.