Vivian Roks is Innovation lead at Randstad Belgium, the largest HR provider in the world. She is one of the founders of Randstad Young Talents programme that collaborates closely with Belgian universities to smoothen the career paths for students.
Vivian’s role in the Asset-H team is to make sure that the different parties – academic staff and prospective employers – speak the same language.
I am convinced of the talents and capabilities of young graduates, including those of Arts students. However, the knowledge, skills and talents of Arts students often remain underexposed. The step from higher education to the labour market seems to be bigger than average for the students of the Faculty of Humanities.
In other words, the employers might not recognize the value and applicability of humanities skills for the position they are hiring for and, vice versa, the humanities students might not recognize themselves in the requirements listed in job advertisements.
Information flows both ways
Thanks to her extensive contacts in the labour markets both in the Netherlands and Belgium, Vivian can also act as a mouthpiece for the employers, making their needs and wishes known in the Asset-H project.
Although Asset-H is not aiming at changing the curricula of humanities, this way we can develop something that will help all stakeholders, including employers.
But are the needs and expectations of the employers similar across Europe? Interestingly, not quite.
What I have already noticed is that Dutch employers give a lot of weight to the academic aspect of the training and that Belgian employers do so less. Finland is still new for me, so I need to expand my network there.
From MA in rehabilitation sciences to Innovation lead
We will know more about the employer side later this summer, as a survey has just gone out for altogether 200 diverse employers in all three countries. Meanwhile, let’s hear how Vivian herself found her place in the working life.
I am an example of someone who uses her competencies and less the subject expertise she has built up with her diploma: I have a master's degree in rehabilitation sciences at KU Leuven! After graduation, I got a job as a rehabilitation expert at a private clinic in Switzerland, and having spent one year there, I was asked to take on some managerial duties. I realized I liked that a lot better than being a rehabilitation expert. I started actively looking for a job in management and a few years later I was indeed leading a large team at Randstad Belgium.
Randstad's management soon noticed Vivian's talents and offered her the position of innovation lead.She is now responsible for developing new concepts and business models.
Vivian feels that although her current position is not exactly what she was trained for at KU Leuven, it however matches her talents and competencies very closely and gives her a lot of energy. Through Asset-H, she hopes to help the students to recognize and verbalize their strengths and talents, so that they, too, can find their place in the job market.