Two weeks ago, AFRIKA KOMMT! had its second virtual assessment centre and its 10th assessment centre overall since the foundation of the programme.
The assessment centre can be quite a nerve-wrecking challenge for candidates, but since the pandemic, it has become a challenge for everyone – the candidates, the company representatives choosing their fellows and the GIZ team making it all happen.
Where lies the challenge?
There are many things to be considered when organising a virtual assessment. Apart from the obvious virtual logistics, you need to consider having rooms for exchange and networking, bilaterally as well as for groups, rooms planned for and rooms needed spontaneously. Everyone involved deserves the opportunity to exchange and network, just as they would in person. Then there’s the challenge of ensuring a stable internet connection for all sides – a problem we all know too well, no matter what corner of the earth we are in. You must also come up with professional assessment exercises that can replace live interaction, which we have learned during the pandemic to be irreplaceable. Of course, you finally need to ensure a fair and transparent procedure overall, especially considering the large number of people involved.
Of the 3,686 applications from more than 50 African countries, around 180 applicants were invited to join this year’s assessment centre. They were divided into four smaller groups over a period of two weeks. This way, each group had two days to network, tackle some challenges and have a bit of fun while at it.
What is the assessment centre like?
As part of the assessment centre, candidates got to meet not only other fellow applicants, but also AFRIKA KOMMT! alumni, who shared their own personal experiences with the programme and during their time in Germany. As one of the candidates put it, “The AFRIKA KOMMT application process did teach me a lot and push me to the extra mile. […] It was also an exhilarating experience to get to meet like-minded Africans from different spectrums of the continent full of passion and vigour to effect change in their small way.”
For the two days candidates took part in the assessment, they raced through the various trials and exercises, meeting along the way many of the company representatives that take part in AFRIKA KOMMT!. Mareike Huegel, HR Manager at Bosch, said: “This year’s assessment centre was not only inspiring in its efficient and smooth technical and organisational set-up, but also thanks to the many young talents and their wish to truly initiate change for themselves and their country.” For the intake of 2021-2023, 7 companies will be offering fellowships to around 50 African professionals, a record number that exceeded expectations and set hope for reaching more and more Africans in this ever-growing programme.
How did it turn out?
Key to making it all happen was clear communication, good technical support and a motivated and engaged team. Having had the first virtual assessment last year, the GIZ team was able to implement its lessons learned and best practices. Gathering these would not have been possible without the feedback and trust of all candidates and partner companies. At the end of the day, that is what enabled such a smooth, fair and rewarding assessment centre for our 10th AFRIKA KOMMT! intake.