Last year, Swiss International School in Dubai organised its Work Placement Programme for the first time. The initiative was a great success, and our students were able to get a first taste of life after school. For a three week period, they joined companies such as Arcadis, Mövenpick, and Winston & Strawn LLP. The work placement programme at SISD ensures that our Grade 10 students perform actual tasks and get the most out of their internship. Students were involved in performing research, assisting with front office work, and helping company staff with their day to day tasks. This year, another batch of Grade 10 students left the classroom for a very real life working experience with a brand-new set of companies. Let’s look at what happened for 2019’s Work Placement Programme!
The Work Placement Programme is designed to connect our students with opportunities that can provide them with early real-life experience in the workplace. This has a fourfold purpose:
Our students were sent to five different companies – Givaudan, Blue Logic, German Bakery, Nestle, and AW Rostamani. Here are some of their experiences.
One of our partner companies is Swiss-based Givaudan – the world’s leading Flavour and Fragrances company.
Our student Salah was selected by Givaudan, where he immersed into the fascinating world of Flavours and Fragrances. He had the opportunity to work with the commercial, marketing and technical teams across the key segments including beverages, sweet goods and snacks. His Fragrance stint exposed Salah to the key functions including fragrance evaluation, consumer understanding, marketing and pricing. He also put on an apron and other personal protection equipment and worked in the Fragrance Application Labs producing samples of finished products for Givaudan’s customers.
At the end of his time in the Work Placement Programme, Salah gave a presentation to members of Givaudan management team where he reflected on his experience, key discoveries & takeaways, and also answered few questions. Salah appreciated how his stint at Givaudan allowed him to realize how the fragrance & flavour industry works, and what all goes on internally among the different teams and functions in order to have an amazing end-product created for customers and the end-consumers across the various markets of the Middle East.
His contribution and performance was well-received, with Joe T. John (Givaudan HR Talent Acquisition Manager for the Middle East & Africa) saying – “Salah has shown a lot of maturity. He was at ease and confident. He would be a great asset to any company. Wishing him all the best in his future studies and endeavours.”
Another company was Blue Logic, a digital marketing and design agency. Our student Amr was assigned here, where he ended up being their youngest intern at just 15 years of age. He was assigned to performing industry research on chatbots, which are becoming an increasingly popular way for brands to reach out to their audiences. He also performed intensive testing on company chatbots, using natural-language testing to ensure that they behaved normally and provided users with the information they need.
Five of our students were assigned to the German-owned café and bakery Baker’s Kitchen. They assisted with tasks in the kitchen, preparing ingredients, organizing store displays, bussing tables, and serving customers. The owner, Sven, was very impressed with their work, saying, “It was a very nice experience, they were respectful, and they have done their best to fulfill their training.” Watch this short YouTube video made by our student Skay during her work placement.
Three of our students were assigned to Securitas. Our students mission was to find new offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah according to the company’s requirements and budget. Our students had to contact Real-Estate agents, book visits and negotiate prices. “They exceeded expectations! None of the professional agents we hired before them succeeded in the task. Your students not only found our new offices exactly as per our requirements, their negotiation skills also saved us 30K on our yearly rent,!” –Lisbeth S. HR Manager
For our second iteration of the programme, we were able to refine the processes that worked in the past and streamlined our interaction with the partner businesses. Our students were able to contribute more than ever, and we hope that they learned a lot from their stay at each business.