Increasing numbers of the next generation are entering the water and agricultural sector through the Young Expert Programmes (YEP Programmes). The programmes aim to rejuvenate the Water & Agrifood sectors and ensure continued availability of expertise for these sectors. And the results are becoming more visible: no less than 91.7% of alumni remain in the sector. The success of the programmes is therefore likely to lead to a five-year extension of the YEP Programmes and and to be extended to the energy sector. YEP Programme Manager, Marjon Reiziger, is looking forward to training another 450 young professionals on one and two year contracts.
“In Phase I, YEP Programmes was able to kickstart the international careers of 404 Young Experts, making a huge impact in 38 countries. And maybe even more important, no less than 91.7% of all alumni stay in the sector. We are extremely proud of this. The alumni’s impact is becoming more and more visible in practice: Young Experts can be seen everywhere and they are making a major contribution to rejuvenating the water and agrifood sectors. And incredibly, 35 of them already have management positions! Have a look at this video in which two young professionals talk about their experiences. It is great to see that our young professionals continue to feel strongly involved after their training. Six alumni have become YEP trainers themselves and two are now YEP coaches. This is hugely enriching for us as well. The alumni are also involved in the peer-to-peer support weekends that we organise in the countries and regions where we explicitly seek connections with Dutch embassies and strengthen each other's networks.
The evaluation of YEP Phase I was completed last November. The conclusion was very positive and of course this makes us very happy. At the same time, we immediately took the recommendations made to heart, for example the recommendation to develop new learning tracks. We are constantly on the move and always want to do better.
If official approval is granted, YEP Phase II can start on 1 January 2020 and run up to 1 January 2025. We expect the first proposal deadline for Phase II will be 15 October 2019.
Because the continuation of the YEP Programme took a little longer than expected, subject to funding, two more batches, numbers 17 and 18 totalling 60 Young Expert positions, will be added to 2019. Their training programmes will start in September and November respectively. Organisations can submit their proposals for young professional positions for the upcoming batches before 30 June. We have further improved the formats for submitting proposals. Do our self-test to see if you are eligible to employ a Young Expert yourself. Please note, 30 June is the proposal deadline for both batches.
The structure of the YEP Programmes is modular, and offers the opportunity for expanding the remit. Subject to formal approval, we are currently preparing to expand to the energy sector. We are partnering RVO.nl in this endeavour. We draw great inspiration from broadening our activities at the intersection of water, energy and agriculture and we refer to this as the ‘nexus’. We would like to start with 18 positions a year in the energy sector. There are 36 positions each per year in the water sector and 36 positions each per year in the agrofood sector, totalling 450 young professionals in the five years to come.
Our programmes have gone beyond just young professionals with a technical background. Water & Finance is now an important theme. This is reflected in the demand from companies and organisations. There is also a growing demand for more generalist young professionals, for example those trained in marketing and sales. The companies and organisations themselves have candidates for about two-thirds of the positions, while we do the recruitment and selection for the remaining third. As an aside, we have recently started to receive requests from companies to find mid-term career candidates, so we are becoming a bit of a headhunter as well. Naturally, we make grateful use of the NWP network for recruitment and selection, for example through the country platforms.
I feel truly privileged to be part of the YEP team, working with all those young, enthusiastic and passionate professionals who want to take a big step in their career through YEP Programmes. And at the same time we are ensuring a continuous influx of new, motivated and well-trained people in the water, agrofood – and soon – the energy sector. That’s our contribution to the next generation!"
About YEP Programmes
The main goal of the Young Expert Programmes (YEP Programmes), currently consisting of YEP Water & YEP Agrofood, is to offer young Dutch and local professionals the opportunity to take their first steps in an international environment. They are employed through Dutch organisations in a number of eligible countries. The programmes aim to rejuvenate the water and agrifood sectors and ensure the continued availability of expertise for these sectors.
The YEP Programmes are run jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and the Netherlands Food Partnership. Read the online magazine YEP Effect for more background information, check the video of Young Experts sharing their experiences, or contact YEP Programmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.