Feb. 1, 2006
By Jayne Gest
Ohio University Without Boundaries and the Netherlands division of the European company Sogeti recently celebrated the 500th person sent to Ohio University for training.
Sogeti Netherlands, formerly known as IQUIP, is an information and computer technology company with over 2,000 employees. Since 2000, 22 groups of newly hired young professionals have been sent to train at Ohio University for three weeks before returning to the Netherlands to work in the company.
Deborah Bruins, the 500th employee out of 523, said the most important thing she wants to learn is how to present better in English. Bruins, who was hired on Dec. 1, spent five weeks training in the Netherlands before coming to Athens.
The customized training and orientation program teaches the e-business professionals how to better understand the businesses they consult for, as the newest group of 37 trainees and coaches work on three main projects and attend workshops.
"The intensive program takes them out of their home environment so they learn to rely on each other and build networks," said Edwin Zoer, one of the Dutch coaches.
Muriel Ballou, director of Ohio University Without Boundaries, said the training duplicates real life situations in a safe environment so the young professionals can learn, make mistakes, take risks and still be safe.
Mark Bottelier was a trainee with one of the first groups to come to Ohio University and now acts as a coach. He said using a database and completing projects in such a short-time is a new way of learning for the Dutch employees.
The program blends face-to-face training with on-line or electronically mediated training, and is the kind of training corporations are seeking because it mirrors the real-life corporation world.
Bill Steinman, an Ohio University coach and trainer who has been involved in the program from the beginning, said the company has found that it gets more productive and effective employees after they train with Ohio University Without Boundaries. Sogeti has documented increased performance, decreased time of adjustment to new environments and a higher retention of new employees.
Jayne Gest is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.