Last June, twenty-six year old Geoffroi Anciaux, a graduate of business management at the Catholic University of Leuven in Brussels, decided he wanted to go abroad to gain professional experience in an international environment.
Geoffroi first started searching the Actiris database for relevant job opportunities. In Belgium, Actiris is the public employment service responsible for the Brussels region and is closely linked to EURES. Through Actiris, Geoffroi was automatically redirected to the EURES website, where he found the contact details of his EURES Adviser, Mélanie Chaineux. ‘Mélanie was really helpful; she asked me for my CV and sent it directly to several international consultancies. From that moment it was just a matter of days until I was invited for my first interview’, recalls Geoffroi.
Geoffroi’s recruitment process moved very quickly. Within 10 days he was hired by RQA Europe, a global consultancy specialising in quality, crisis and incident management in all areas of the consumer products sector, ranging from foods and beverages to automotive components and toys. Covering over 90 countries, RQA Europe offers a vast array of services such as trainings, incident management, and identification of food safety hazards to help its clients manage product recalls and establish best practices.
At RQA, Geoffroi is in charge of a variety of tasks, from business development to helping clients find solutions for their specific problems. For example, in order to advise his food service clients, Geoffroi and his team conduct pre-shipment inspections, product investigations, crisis simulations, and awareness training in order to bring the client up-to-date with current legislations.
In the 12 months that Geoffroi has now been working with RQA Europe, he has benefited enormously from the company’s dynamism and growth and learns something new almost every day: ‘Due to the fast-paced nature of the business I have learned to work towards very tight deadlines and to organise myself in an efficient manner. These are two skills that are essential in order to be successful in a consultancy’, explains Geoffroi. What’s more, Geoffroi’s English has improved greatly as he speaks the language on a daily basis.
‘My work is very exciting. I always face new challenges and it is so satisfactory to be creative and come up with new solutions. Also, RQA has changed a lot this year as we have been growing quite significantly’, says Geoffroi. Indeed, the sector of quality, crisis and incident management is a fast-growing field with plenty of opportunities to develop new skills.
Apart from gaining professional experience, living in Reading, which is just a few kilometres east of London, has its conveniences. For instance, Geoffroi has made plenty new friends from all over the world as his work colleagues have proved to be very open-minded, helpful and welcoming.
‘When I arrived in Reading I learned to accept that this is a different culture and simply tried to be very open to getting in touch with the locals,’ recalls Geoffroi. When he feels homesick or simply wants to go visit his family and meet old friends, Geoffroi simply jumps on the EuroStar for the short journey back to Brussels.
Finding your first job after graduating can be extremely daunting. In these troubled economic times, young graduates with little professional experience can find it difficult to get that first foot in the door. As shown by Geoffroi’s experience, EURES can be a great help to graduates seeking inspiration. Indeed, Geoffroi’s career has turned out to be an undeniable success; starting with little experience in the sector, within one year Geoffroi was managing a three-person team within RQA Europe.
Geoffroi has kept in touch with Mélanie and has even been using EURES to recruit new employees for his team at RQA. Applying through EURES seems like the best advice Geoffroi could give to young graduates seeking a springboard into a new career.