"The YUFE staff development programme was a benefit for me in every respect"

The YUFE Alliance not only offers courses for students. Academic and professional service staff also benefit from it.

Wiltrud Hoffmann from the University of Bremen, for example, took part in a six-month staff development programme. In this interview, she reports on her experiences and how she benefitted from it.


Ms Hoffmann, what kind of training did you do at YUFE?

This year, for six months, I had the opportunity to participate in the first “Career Development Programme for Professional Service Staff.” The English-speaking programme was aimed at staff members of all YUFE universities who deal with the topic of personnel selection and recruitment. The 15 participants came from Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany. There were five online modules and two face-to-face weeks - one in Brussels and another one in Rijeka/Croatia. Each module had a thematic focus that addressed a specific area of the university administration sector. The focus ranged from recruitment, selection, and maintenance of staff to specific challenges and developments in the labour market.


How was the training programme structured?

In the first module, the participants were able to get to know each other virtually. In addition, the goals of YUFE in the context of Europe were presented. The second module was about trends and developments in the HR sector. Experts from management consultancies presented new headhunting and selection techniques and demonstrated what is possible with the use of artificial intelligence. The following module, "Skills and Abilities for the Future", focused on the skills that the labour market of the future will require: in addition to digital skills, social skills are especially in demand here. During the "exchange and learning week" in Brussels, we finally had the opportunity to get to know each other "outside the tile". We learned how the topic of personnel selection is approached at the other YUFE universities and very vividly learned how we can manage our own careers. The fifth module continued with a video call on the topic of "diversity and inclusion" and "unconscious bias". We were able to establish that a lot has already been achieved in this area in the university context, but that there is still a lot to do - and not everything can be done in every situation. In the final week, in the last and sixth module, in Rijeka (Croatia), we once again put into practice what we had learned: we went through selection procedures and applied the tools of the different modules in group work.


What did you take away for yourself and your own working environment?

It was a benefit for me in every respect that I was allowed to participate in the programme. I was not explicitly part of the target group, as I am not involved in recruiting staff for the university. I advise and accompany students in their transition from university to work. I learned a lot about how to best prepare students for application processes. The examination of my own career was also an added value.


Was there anything that surprised you?

I was definitely surprised that the topic of "subconscious bias" was much more relevant to me in the "Diversity and Inclusion" part than I had assumed. I was able to take away a lot for myself. In addition, the exchange with the other participants and the atmosphere in the group were very pleasant. Everyone is struggling with more or less the same problems: recruiting good staff, the difficulties associated with the rules and regulations in public administration, the demands of diversity management and sustainability - to name but a few. Sharing these, learning about different perspectives and best practices, helped me to reflect on my own work situation and to gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities that lie in a European University and the hurdles we have to overcome to fully realise this great project.

Which elements did you particularly like?

The formats during the virtual meetings and the two attendance weeks were very varied: input, presentations and lectures by external experts alternated with group work and discussions. This made it possible to reflect on what we had learned, to apply it and to get to know the other participants better. In Brussels, we were introduced to the recruitment process of the European Commission directly on site at the Commission. We used the free evenings in Brussels and Rijeka for joint activities and sightseeing - so it was not only educational, but also a lot of fun! I hope that there will continue to be the possibility to offer such trainings in the YUFE context, so that many staff members can benefit from it, the YUFE project will be strengthened and together we will move Europe forward.


Further information:

The YUFE training programme "Career Development Programme for Professional Service Staff" was a pilot programme to create initial links between non-academic staff of YUFE universities. It is currently being further developed. However, we also offer other opportunities for university staff. They can be found on the YUFE page of all partners in the so-called YUFE Staff Portal under Staff Development Offers:


Do you have any questions?

Feel free to contact our YUFE Staff Team at the University of Bremen. We appreciate your interest:

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