'Helping students to make the best possible career choice'

| Rense Kuipers

What started as a job fair organised by three study associations grew over forty years into a multi-week career event. According to the organising committee, this fortieth edition of the Business Days Twente should offer 'something for everyone', this year also for Saxion students and - still - for those who want to work at Shell.

It has been a tried-and-tested recipe for Business Days Twente for years: a playful kick-off on the O&O square, then a lunch lecture by a renowned speaker and a career fair where students can get their bearings, followed by workshops and a more intensive introduction to companies.

'It's a concept that works well,' say Jasper Wouters (chairman) and Ruben Stevenaar (acquisition) of the organising committee. 'Ultimately, it's about helping students with their first career steps,' Stevenaar says. 'This is a good set-up for that: orientation and development first, then deeper and closer contact with a company via a dinner, cocktail workshop or craft beer tasting during the company experience weeks.'

'More complete offering'

So the current committee is not tampering much with that formula, with a few exceptions. 'As this is the fortieth edition, we added a lustrum show night with illusionist Victor Mids last week to draw extra attention to the Business Days,' says Wouters.

Other adjustments are and were mainly behind the scenes, according to the committee members. 'Based on the experience of the previous committee, we understood that students pursuing medical studies were looking for some more choices. Therefore, we worked on a more complete offer,' says Stevenaar. 'Also, last time there were questions from hbo students whether they were also welcome,' adds Wouters. 'We didn't leave that question in the middle this year, which is why we started actively recruiting at Saxion.'

Shell present again

The previous committee had to deal with climate activists during the career fair, who wrapped Shell's stand with yellow masking tape. The current committee had no intention whatsoever of banning Shell from the fair this year, says Wouters. 'Of course, we discussed that incident, but Shell is also at the fair this year. It is ultimately up to the student whether they want to talk to a company or not. We are not responsible for the student's career.'

Upward trend

In terms of concrete goals, Wouters and Stevenaar hope for an 'upward trend' compared to previous years. 'A full Waaier 1 and 2 at the lunch lecture and fully booked activities and workshops, that would be nice,' said Wouters. 'We expect around 170 companies at the career fair this year, which is the same number as last year. But we hope to grow in terms of visitor numbers from 2,800 to 3,000.'

'As long as there is something for everyone, we want to facilitate that,' adds Stevenaar, who is aware of a tight labour market and companies crying out for talent. 'We want to help students make their career choices as best we can.'

Lunch lecture Olympian champion Ireen Wüst

Former top speed skater Ireen Wüst will give the traditional lunch lecture on 8 February. Why the choice for her? 'She is the first athlete ever to take gold at five different Olympic Games. In addition, she started her own skating team, so she can also talk about entrepreneurship,' says Stevenaar. 'She is an inspiring person who has experienced everything from gold medals to setbacks. We hope students will be inspired by her story, to apply such lessons in their own lives.'

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