Kick-start Your Career with the WFP Technology Volunteer Programme

Collaboration between universities and organizations is a common way for young people to gain professional experience, while offering employers gain a fresh perspective on their operations and talent pipelines. Similarly, the collaboration between the Careers Center of the Rome Business School (RBS) and the Technology Division of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has already enabled three students to earn valuable exposure to the UN, to be part of a fast paced working environments and to advance their careers.

In the interview below, three current and previous students from RBS share their experiences and their recommendation for future volunteers. 

Ines Tavares

Now a graduate from the Masters in Political Marketing and Communications course, was the first student from RBS, to volunteer with the Talent and Development Unit of WFP’s Technology Division. Originally from Portugal and with no previous experience in talent management, the programme shaped Ines’s perspective towards her career choice. Currently, she continues her development in this area as an Intern in Volocopter GmbH, Germany.

Luna Nguyen

Originally from Vietnam and is currently enrolled in Masters in International Human Resource Management (HRM) course. Luna has joined the same WFP team as Ines in October 2020. Although this wasn’t her first exposure to the area of talent and development, Luna believes being a part of the humanitarian organization gives her a unique opportunity to contribute to society. 

Dimple Dhagiya

enrolled in the Masters in International HRM, is the latest volunteer, this time with the Learning and Development unit of the branch dealing directly with services provided to WFP beneficiaries. Dimple is originally from India and the main reason she decided to apply for this volunteering program was to experience a multicultural working environment and to prepare herself for an even bigger contribution to the lives of the most vulnerable all around the world. 

What has been the most valuable learning experience from volunteering with WFP’s Technology Division?

Ines: Volunteering opportunities like this give students the chance to put a foot in a major UN organization such as the WFP and understand the impact of the day to day work and also bring some understanding of what it takes to be a part of such a team.

Dimple: The biggest learning for me so far has been the way in which HR managers honor their commitments to guide the employees and perform their job in a manner that promotes fairness, respect, honesty and trust.

Similarly to many other organizations, the majority of TEC employees have been working remotely. Tell us, what were some of the challenges of volunteering remotely and how have you handled them.

Luna: Remote working was once thought to create the distance between colleagues but turns out it can also be a way to motivate the employees by offering them a greater flexibility, especially if you adapt proper tools and initiatives to keep everyone connected and engaged, with such initiatives as Weekly TEC Live Radio Streaming and Weekly TEC Coffee Catch-up. Additionally, although remote working was new within the headquarter in Rome, WFP was already working remotely as a global organization with staff based in some very remote places.

Ines: Volunteering remotely has prepared me to be more adaptive to the different working modalities, especially considering current global situation where more and more companies are seeing the benefits of remote working and are considering deploying it permanently. 

What advice would you give to the present and future volunteers at TEC?

Dimple: Be flexible and ready to do your best to contribute whatever the working modality may be. Especially remote working requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation. You’ll gain all the knowledge and experience you hoped for, as long as you are ready to work hard for it.

Ines: Ask questions and grab any opportunity to learn and grow that your team offers – You’ll find the best mentors in TEC that will support you in your professional and personal development.  Most importantly – enjoy it!

Luna: Define your priorities and focus, focus, focus! – WFP is a great workplace to explore your competencies and push your limitations, but finding your focus point is even more important. Define or find someone who can help you achieve this and it will help you to navigate through the rest of your volunteering experience in a smoother way.

The Technology Volunteer Programme has been a valuable initiative for Rome Business School, the World Food Programme and most importantly the participants.Reach out to the Career Services Office to be informed on future Volunteering  opportunities and be sure to follow World Food Programme on Social Media to stay up to date about activities and career opportunities: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.