Getting into the workforce

Getting into the workforce 05/12/2008
Serge Mbami

Serge Mbami, originally from Cameroon, takes part in European Social Fund training project on supply chain logistics and lands permanent job.


Originally from Cameroon, Serge Mbami moved to Ireland in 2001. “Back home life is hard and it is difficult to make a decent living,” he says. “I was looking for better life opportunities.”

However, at first he found he was unable to get work. “It was hard for me to find a job,” says the 38-year-old. “It was frustrating. I was doing volunteer work teaching children, but it was not paid.”

To provide for himself and his young son, Ryan, he depended on government support. “I wanted to do more,” he says. “I decided I needed some training to boost my chances.”

Logistics and Supply Chain Management

In 2003, he began studying for a diploma in logistics and supply chain management at the Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management. “I had some experience in this area before and I knew it was the type of work that suited me,” he says. “I’m a natural multi-tasker, I speak languages and I am good under pressure.”

The three-year course covered logistics, warehousing, procurement and supply chain management. However, he still found it difficult to get employment when his studies were finished. “Even with the diploma I couldn’t find a job because I had no relevant work experience. In Ireland it is very important.”

Then he heard about the FÁS (Ireland's National Training and Employment Authority) traineeship in supply chain logistics administration. “It was absolutely what I was looking for,” says Serge. The course, co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund, consists of 22 weeks of classroom-based study followed by work placements in businesses.

Serge gained a recognised vocational qualification ­­– the level 6 FETAC Advanced Certificate in Supply Chain Logistics – and, more importantly, did a 16-week placement at SerCom Solutions, a DCC-Subsidiary company in Limerick specialising in integrated worldwide procurement, logistics, storage and distribution of electronic, telecommunication and durable goods. The business acts as a global Sourcing and Supply Chain Management (SCM) partner to many of the world’s leading technology and telecommunications firms, as well as distributors and retailers.

Opening doors

After completing the training, he was offered a permanent position in the company. “I had started some projects on my placement, implementing a new contract with a US-company that wanted to move into Ireland and Europe. The company offered me a position to continue the work.”

His job now involves all aspects of logistics from licensing, to shipping, to production, to storage and final delivery. “I’m having worldwide experience,” he explains. “I deal with customers from countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

“I really like working in this company,” he says. ”It’s great to work as part of a team.”

Getting regular employment has made a huge difference, says Serge, improving his quality of life greatly. The increased security means that he doesn’t have to worry about providing for his son, and can assist his family back in Cameroon. “I can send money back home and that’s a big help for them over there. I feel more secure and I can relax without worrying about what the future will bring,” he adds.

“I’m enjoying life in Ireland now. It’s a very welcoming country,” he points out. “The Irish are very entertaining people. You can never sit next to an Irish person and not have a chat. Although it is very rainy,” he laughs.

In his spare time he likes to stay healthy, going to the gym and jogging. “I love to watch football,” he says, “I’m a big supporter of Arsenal.”

However, Serge says he is not content to rest on his laurels, and will keep on studying business. “I always want to achieve more. I want to make my son proud.”