The usually relaxed career fair was marked by an unexpected protest action by the so-called Climate Crisis Coalition, a group of climate activists who work or study at the UT. They wrapped the stand of Shell with yellow barrier tape, with the words ‘Police crime scene, do not enter’ on them. ‘Our main goal is for UT to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry. Shell presents itself as green, but they still continue to invest in fossil fuels’, said Guus Dix, assistant professor at the UT and member of the Climate Crisis Coalition. In front of the stand, the protesters handed out leaflets informing about the damage Shell is doing to the environment.
The Shell recruiters working at the stand were not enthusiastic about the protest, but did not resist either, nor did they try to remove the tape. ‘Instead of polarising through this kind of action, I would advocate depolarising and working together on the energy transition,’ responded Arian Nijmeijer, a Shell employee and professor at the UT, who was at the fair. In his view, the university cutting ties with Shell would be too short-sighted. ‘Shell can play a big role in the energy transition, we need Shell's technical and financial capabilities.’
‘Hope students remember us’
Moving on to the stands that were not barricaded. ‘We have met a lot of motivated and enthusiastic people that we need for our company’, said Erik te Paske, a recruiter for engineering consultancy company Movares. ‘We are looking for flexible, communicative, creative students who are passionate about their studies and work’. Even on the first day, he felt that the Business Days were a success. ‘We were in contact with a lot of students, we hope they remember us once they graduate.’
‘Personally, I am here to orient myself for future job opportunities,’ said Luise Schmitt, a second-year psychology student at the UT. For her a bigger purpose is considered when finding a new employer. ‘It is important that I will end up working for a company that tries to improve the world in some way.’ She also ad expectations when it came to employment conditions. ‘I like flexible working hours because I believe I will be more efficient and more productive.’
‘Right place to be’
For Shreyaank Maiti, a master's student in Mechanical Engineering, other aspects are important when looking for a job. ‘For me, it all boils down to a good and friendly working environment’. Not all students were looking for specific job opportunities, like Jorrit Westerhof, also a Master's student in Mechanical Engineering, were specifically looking for internships. ‘I am now towards the end of my studies and I am looking for companies where I can do an internship. At the beginning of my studies, it wasn't really important for me to find out about companies, but now I’ve come to the point that it’s very important. This is a very open event where you can ask many questions. Especially for students who have no idea what they want to do after university, I think this is the right place to be.’
The Business Days Twente continue until 31 March. Today there is another career fair day, followed by workshop weeks and company experience weeks.