The Young Experts follow a development programme during their participation in YEP. Prior to their placement abroad the Young Experts take part in an intensive 3-week start training course. In the case of a two-year contract they return to the Netherlands after one year for another two weeks of return training. The return programme at the end of the YEP time consists of individual meetings.
Learning Agility*is the ability for someone to rapidly develop new effective behaviour based on new experiences, and to easily move from idea to idea both within and across experiences. It is about the flexibility to approach situations from multiple perspectives and the speed of learning new things. This flexibility and speed means that people who are Learning Agile, have the ability to incorporate new skills into their current skill set quickly and efficiently, while at the same time unlearning ineffective skills with the same efficiency and speed (DaRue, Ashford, & Myers, 2012).The importance of learning new skills and unlearning ineffective skills is apparent when linked back to the study conducted by McCall and Lombardo (1983), since overreliance on old skills could set someone up for failure.
*(inspired by HFM Talentindex)
The individual and collective training programme of the Young Experts is focused on personal development and the start of their international career. The self-awareness created by the MBTI test and feedback, the set-up of a personal development plan, and the coaching are a contribution to learn to become more agile in their behaviour. In particular, the coaching is focused on behavioural change. Making the change starts with yourself. Therefore, the YEP coaches discuss actual cases with the Young Experts, and give them exercises to explore different approaches.
Moreover, the Training ‘Intervision & Change’, as well as the masterclass Change Management, are related to getting new ideas about making the change yourself.
The development programme of the Young Experts mainly focuses on three areas of development:
- Individual development
- Collective development
- Networking & innovation
Since we strive to maintain the best possible training programme, it is possible that master classes or trainings might be added or altered. An example of the global training programme can be found on this page. YEP uses the YEP Development Centre, which was developed and specialised for YEP, to share all of the information on training sessions and master classes.
The Young Expert's personal learning targets are laid down in a personal development plan. Besides personal learning targets, this plan includes a development plan that is tailored to the specific location of the Young Expert's secondment. This personal development plan is based on an MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) test and feedback meeting, which will take place in the week prior to the start training course. During their placement the Young Expert will have regular coaching sessions via Skype with a professional coach appointed by the YEP programme bureau. This coach will help wherever he or she can with the assignments, personal development, as well as any other issues that may arise. Besides that, the Young Expert will have a supervisor appointed by the organisation, who will deal mainly with their work and any supervision that is required. Thirdly, the seconding organisation will appoint a mentor in the Netherlands, who will have regular contact with the Young Expert. The mentor will also be the contact person for the YEP programme bureau. During the entire time YEP the Young Experts are also required to attend several masterclasses on relevant topics such as a food security or water management.
The collective development of the Young Experts focuses on various aspects that prove to be useful in their working environment, to the Water and Agrofood sector, and in their ability to work in (intercultural) teams. The collective development includes training and practical sessions on social media, intercultural facilitation, conflict management, safety, project planning, and many more, as listed in the example of the training programme.
Networking & innovation
An important part of the training programme is to enable and stimulate the Young Experts to use and apply their networking skills. Every year around 70 Young Experts join the programme and every year between 20 to 50 Young Experts complete the programme and become YEP alumni. Both the active and alumni Young Experts are connected through an active online platform called Basecamp. This platform is actively used by the Young Experts to share experiences, ask for advice and connect with each other. Additionally, the alumni also have the opportunity to join the EP-Nuffic alumni network. Our partners, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NWP and F&BKP support the Young Experts with their network during the Young Experts' placement. The Dutch Embassies also support the YEP network in the specific countries as well.
In the video below Suzanne Faber shares her experiences on being a Young Expert, the YEP training sessions and coaching!