Company: YouthProAktiv
Internship Tutor: Paloma Cantero
Graduate Trainee: Marina Angerri

“It is essential to work with recent graduates to ensure a better understanding of current social issues and new needs in the labour market”

The Mobility Plan of the Integral Programme for Qualification and Employment (PICE) is a programme managed by the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg in the two countries. The programme, created by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and co-financed by the European Social Fund, offers young Spanish graduates the possibility to live a professional experience in another EU country for a period of 3 or 6 months.

The Chamber’s member YouthProAktiv is one of the participant companies in the programme. The international organisation aims to create a generation of proactive people ready to invest their talents for the amelioration of society by starting their own business and creating jobs for themselves and others. The CEO Paloma Cantero has hosted graduate Marina Angerri from September 2022 until February 2023, who has been hired afterwards. In the interview, both of them share their feelings after the experience and encourage other companies located in Belgium and Luxembourg to join the programme.

Company experience

Why did you decide to host an intern through the PICE Programme? What do you think Spanish interns can bring to your company?

Paloma Cantero: “The support of quality training and youth employability is a substantial part of our mission as an organisation. Depending on the capacity of the projects we develop, our office is open to host proactive young people eager to take charge of their future and develop a complete professional experience that opens the doors to the business world. Each intern comes with a new point of view that favours the innovation of our processes and the themes we work on”.

How was the reception process and the settlement of the interns?

P.C.: “From YouthProAktiv (YPA), we advise them on the various sources to turn to in order to manage their stay in Brussels. During the first week, we assign them a tutor assigned and offer a training, explaining the working methods and processes we use and the technical knowledge they need for the development of their assigned projects”.

Which were the tasks carried out by the interns during their stay in the company?

P.C.: “Management and definition of European projects in the education field”.

Did having an external vision bring any innovation to the company?

P.C.: “Working with recent graduates is essential to ensure a better understanding of current social issues and the new needs and forms of a labor market that evolves with each new generation”.

How did you find out about this mobility programme? Would you recommend the PICE Programme and repeat the experience?

P.C.: “We find out about this programme through the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg. We think it is a highly recommendable programme that generates positive synergies for both the company and the trainees”.

Which aspects of the programme and mobility could be improved?

P.C.: “We find the programme very well-functioning, flexible in terms of time criteria and easy to set up. As a point to consider, normally many of the interns we have worked with would extend the 6-month period. Depending on the trainees age and learning pace, many trainees report the possibility of a longer stay as a benefit”.

Experience of the graduate

What would you highlight the most about this experience on a personal and professional level?

Marina Angerri: “On a personal level, this experience has allowed me to strengthen my self-confidence, Independence and self-sufficiency. Out of my comfort zone, with a new home and new social ties, I evolved a lot in a very short time.

Within the same organisation, I have been able to develop both personally and professionally. The experience allowed me to discover and grow in the field of management, drafting and implementation of European projects. The missions to other countries such as Georgia, France or Poland for YPA’s participation in European projects were an extraordinary plus. The responsibilities and opportunities they gave me empowered me to believe that I have potential, and that my voice and vision can make a positive impact on our society, no matter how small”.

Is the way of working different in Belgium? Did you find it difficult to adapt?

M.A.: “In Spain I have worked as a dance teacher and in leisure spaces for young people, but never in the professional field of project Management or international relations. Even so, the organisation made it very easy for me to adapt to the work rhythm here, which from my point of view is a bit more competitive and organised. At YPA, they were always willing to answer my questions, to make sure that I understood my tasks and that I also felt accompanied in the learning process”.

Has the company offered you the possibility of staying in the company?

M.A.: “Yes, and I am very grateful and proud of the opportunity. Honestly, I didn’t think that the possibility of working in the organisation would come up after my internship, and now I am very happy to be able to continue learning and growing in the company. The work in the organisation, as much as it is within the bubble of European projects, is very versatile and diverse, which motivates me even more with my responsibilities, as I can learn something new with every one of them”.

Do you think that the offer of companies in the programme is adequate?

M.A.: “I remember that in the job and internship portal there were opportunities for different sectors, and I appreciated that very much”.

In your opinion, what could be improved? Has the mobility met your expectations?

M.A.: “The mobility exceeded my expectations in many ways: the group dynamics of the internship, the learning and responsibilities, the missions to other countries, how I liked the city, the people, the languages… The only thing I would recommend for future PICE scholarships in Brussels is to re-evaluate the categorisation of Belgium as a Group 1 country instead of Group 2”.