Intervista: Mojca e Marko sul training team
Domenica 9 aprile, su iniziativa di Marko, uno dei nostri membri più attivi ed ex vice-presidente, si è tenuto nel nostro ufficio (il nostro cosiddetto “Edificio L” o più semplicemente “L”) il secondo di una serie di due trainings su aspetti fondamentali per il funzionamento del nostro LC. E’ stato presentato da Marko stesso e da Mojca, un ospite speciale da Lubiana che già LC Trieste conosceva dall’anno scorso, grazie ad un altro training simile da lei condotto.
Dopo la fine del training, mi sono unito a Marko e Mojca in Viale XX Settembre, e ci siamo seduti ai tavolini di una nota gelateria a due passi dalla fontana. Mentre bevevo il mio capo in B e mangiavamo i nostri gelati (o, nel caso di Marko, un mostro di palačinka ripiena di gelato e panna), mi sono posto un paio di domande: quante occasioni capitano di avere a disposizione due trainer per una chiacchierata?* E non sarebbe ideale sfruttare quest’ occasione per gettare un po’ di luce su uno degli aspetti “interni” meno conosciuti ma anche più importanti di EESTEC?
*Parecchie, se si è un EESTECer
Ecco l’intervista che ne è seguita:
For starters, would you introduce yourselves?
Mojca: I’m Mojca from LC Ljubljana, one of the oldest members there. I’ve joined EESTEC in 2011 and currently I’m in the training team board and training team coordinator in EESTEC international.
Marko: I’m Marko Milošević from LC Trieste. I’ve been in EESTEC since 2014 and first event of GOT (Game of Teams, a workshop on soft-skills organized in Trieste Ed.). Now I’m a trainer candidate, so I was at T4T, Training for Trainers, last month in March, 2017, and I’m doing sessions to become a training team member.
You are also students right?
Marko: Yes, I’m studying electrical engineering, I’m in the first year of my master in power engineering.
Mojca: Also first year of master but I’m doing robotics.
Cool. So, now, imagine that you have to speak to a non-EESTECer. How would you describe the EESTEC association in your own experience?
Mojca: So my experience… I’ve been here for quite some time so it varies trough time. When I joined I joined because of interesting people that I saw I could learn something from, or I could have fun just drinking beer or something, and that is how I got attracted. Then I realized about international events, the fact that you can travel for cheap and visit a lot of places in Europe and I did that. I did that for quite some time and then I was looking for new aspects of EESTEC and I started joining in international teams, so to have international connections, not just on events but also when I’m in my own city. I tried to contribute to EESTEC because EESTEC gave me a lot, a lot of experience, a lot of new challenges, it pushed me out of my comfort zone many times and I appreciated it, and I’m trying to give something back with contributing to the international level of EESTEC, right now.
Marko: I don’t know if I can say so many cool things as Mojca but I’ll try. The most amazing part of EESTEC is when I’m travelling and there is someone that will care about me like a baby, who picks me up in the station and show me the city, the best parts of the city, so I don’t have to think about anything when I’m travelling. Then of course I don’t have to pay for the food and for the hostel, and I meet new friends. I also practice English, I learn more about their culture, their language. This is one part of my experience. The other part are the workshops and the soft skills, because us engineers need soft skills for work, they’re really important and we don’t have them as subjects in our universities. It’s important for us to know aspects about the soft skills and aspects about the hard skills, those that we study here already. And the third part of EESTEC, the part that I’m doing now, is the part in which I want to give back to other people what I’ve learned in my time here. I’ve been here for two years, and I went to many soft skills event, I’ve learned a lot and I now I want to share my knowledge.
Ok so you’ve named the training team and the Training for Trainers, but would you tell us what is the training team, because maybe it’s something uncommon outside of EESTEC.
Mojca: Marko mentioned a lot of stuff already about soft skills and how they are important in your life, not just while you are a student but also when you’re trying to get a job and in general in your normal relationship with friends, people you talk to and so on; they are aspects that are important in an individual’s life and we are trying to give that knowledge to other EESTECers. That’s the essence of the training team for me. The training team is made of trainers, the people that can deliver training session and try to convey this soft skills knowledge to other members of EESTEC.
Marko: And I will add just that it’s nice that in the training team we are almost all engineers, so we have all started from the same base, and we can see how was our perception of the soft skills. We are not professionals; we are just engineers that know something.
Mojca: Exactly. We are just engineers that are interested in soft skills and we try to learn from them, we try to improve them in ourselves and when we manage to get good at them we can pass the knowledge.
If someone asks you what’s the most important soft skill, what would you answer?
Mojca: [laughing] There is now answer to that, but I also think that it depends on the individual and on the time of your life, because you cannot focus on everything at once. So for me at some point in my life I was very focused on my presentation skills. Then I started focusing more on communication, how to convey my message to the other person and how to listen to the other person, so to be as efficient at that as possible in communicating. Lately I’m focused more on the emotional intelligence, how I can handle myself, how I can handle others. So I think it depends on the individual and which state they are at that moment.
Marko: Yeah you can concentrate on the skill that you want to improve and when you’re satisfied with the improvement on that skill then you just stop with it and go to another one, and then you try to do all the skills that you think will be important and useful for you.
But they’re all important in the end.
Marko: Yes, they are all important but it depends on how we prioritize them. For example, for some people they will use more some skills and other skills they won’t use, so they’ll try to improve those ones they use in their jobs, or in their everyday life.
Ok so, why did you become trainers? Was your passion for soft skills?
Mojca: For me it started on LoT (Leaders of Tomorrow, a special kind of workshop called TOOL that is organized by EESTEC International in a different LC each year Ed.) in Krakow, which is the event that is connected to soft skills. We have session each day on soft skills on different topics, and that’s when I started appreciating soft skills. I started realizing that they are useful for me, that I can learn a lot, that I can improve myself a lot. I was working on them by myself for a while and at some point I realized maybe there are some other people that want to learn them and then that there are trainers that are teaching them, so I could join them and try to spread this awareness about soft skills and how to improve them. I realized that I’m able and that I want to give to the others, try to convey that passion for soft-skills.
Marko: For me it started on Game of Teams, my first soft skills event in my life, and I liked so many things I had never seen before, that learning can be fun, that there are so many games you can use to learn. After that my interest for soft skills exploded in LoT in Zagreb last year, where I really realized how deep you can go with soft skills and how important they can be for people that are not aware of them. It inspired me to become a trainer because I saw that in Trieste we never had these kind of trainings and lessons about soft skills and I just wanted to have them here and to show other people how cool it is to improve your soft skills and do trainings and just have fun while learning.
What does one have to do to become a trainer? Is it difficult? What are the pre-requisites, if there are any?
Mojca: A person is to be interested in developing himself, he need to be interested in soft-skills, he needs to be willing to invest time and energy into it, he needs to be willing to read books and try to implement them.
So you also have to study?
Mojca: [laughing] Kind of, yes, you need to get the knowledge somewhere. But you also need to learn from you experiences, and that’s what we would like to see in a trainer. It’s not difficult, you just need to want it and dedicate some time to it, and when it comes to EESTEC trainers you need to go to T4T to officially become one. There are many people interested so the selection is quite hard, so in that aspect it’s a bit difficult to become a trainer, but it’s not difficult to be a trainer, not in the EESTEC structure but a trainer of yourself in your life.
Marko you had a really recent experience of this, right?
Marko: Yeah, there are some many factors you have to consider and actually the most powerful is the willingness to help other people grow and learn. Also most people do it spontaneously and don’t know there is some theory behind soft skills that you can use to improve. It’s really fun to study because you’re interested in them. You have to dedicate some time, but then you can have fun, make visuals (for the training sessions, Ed.), you do a lot of stuff and then you learn how to present it to the others and for me it’s a pleasure after every session to see that they will implement what they’ve learned in the future, that it was fun for them, that they’ve gained a lot. It’s a satisfaction in many ways.
Could you explain a bit what you do before a training, how you decide what to say and prepare yourselves?
Marko: Usually before the training we meet and we define what we are going to do, what we want to achieve in the training and then after having defined what to achieve we just prepare the timelines, the blocks we will do. After having a general picture of the training and the things we will put inside we go in more detail, on the structure, what we will say, what we will discuss about, and what activities we will; it’s really important to have activities during the session, to know how to implement all the soft skills, because you really learn only by doing something. After this we do the visuals and the material, stuff like flip-charts, videos, PowerPoint presentations and so on. In the end of course we read the feedback from the participants and we do a report (for the board of the training team, Ed.).
Mojca: Like Marko said, when you know what you want to achieve then you do a research for the topics that are connected and decide what’s the most fitting to that specific training. There are a lot of strategies, a lot of methods, how to structure things, how to make the most sense in a session and that’s something that we do on T4Ts, where we shape trainers and we give them these tools, how to structure, how to prepare and so on. That’s why we have those events, so trainers are able to actually prepare a proper session.
In practice, how does being a trainer work? Are you called in various events to do trainings?
Mojca: Well there are two levels, one is the local level and one is international level. Local level depends on how you communicate with your members and with your board. For example, here Marko said let’s do an HR session, people were interested, and then he said let’s call somebody else, so he called me and asked me if I’m up for it. That’s how we came together. Then you can also do it by yourself or only with local trainers but there is also always an option, because some LCs don’t have a trainer, to just send a call to the training team and we send it to all of our members to see who is willing, and they can go deliver a session in that place. From my perspective I receive calls from other LCs, I get contacted personally by some trainers as Marko did, or a board can approach me and say, Mojca we would like this session, and I can do it. Then there are also soft skills, like we mentioned, LoT or Game of Teams.
Marko: I’ve been, like, one month in training team so I don’t have much experience in this but I get plenty of emails each day about events that are not only in EESTEC but also in other organizations, like BEST, or other NGOs in general (Non-Governmental Organizations, Ed.). They are making events and their T4Ts often but they don’t have enough trainers of their own, so they send a call to other organizations. Then there are some projects that some companies are organizing for students and they send calls to our team too, so it’s not only in EESTEC events, but there are other organizations, congresses, local initiatives….
So there are other associations outside of EESTEC that call for the training team to deliver trainings? Can you do an example?
Mojca: Right now we received a call for Trainer’s Camp, which is the same as T4T but for BEST. They don’t have enough trainers so they send a call for us and all of our trainers can join. I’ve been to Siegen last year in October on their TNT because they were lacking trainers; there was me, another trainer from EESTEC and one guy from BEST. They had sent a call to all NGOs and whoever was willing and had time and was capable enough went to that event.
Marko: Or there are some other organizations that have no trainers at all so they call EESTEC to do their trainings and their first T4T.
So you travel a lot as a trainer.
Mojca: If you want you can.
Marko: There are too many things and you can’t do everything.
When you travel, do you often get refunded for the travel expenses or do you manage on your own?
Mojca: It depends, for events that we organize as EESTEC training team, so T4T and LoT, the travel expenses are usually not covered because the OC (Organizing Committee, made of members of the LC that volunteers to organize the event, Ed.) invests in them so much already that we can’t ask them for more, they take such good care of us already. The same goes for Game of Teams. For other organizations then it depends, if they get a grant and they have more money they can give more. For local events if it is a soft skills academy or something that it’s really a need for their association, then often they offer travel reimbursements, because they need the trainers, so they try to adjust and consider that we are also students and don’t have that much money.
Marko: I noticed that in other organizations it’s more important to refund the trainers than to pay for the participants, while in EESTEC we do both.
Mojca: Yeah, they have participation fees for participants and with that they cover trainers’ expenses, but we don’t do that.
To conclude, if you had to pick a topic that you like to have trainings about the most, what would it be?
Mojca: Oh a very difficult question. Like I said before, right now I’m really interested in emotional intelligence, specifically non-violent communication and conflict management. Those are currently the two hottest topics for me let’s say.
Marko: [laughing] Actually now I want to do all of the topics, because I saw that in my LC they need all of them. But my final goal is to go with emotional intelligence and concentrate on that in the end. I think it’s a very important topic and it’s really important to know how to discover yourself, how to set goals and how to just make your life better.
That is all, I really don’t want to make Mojca miss her bus to Ljubljana. Thank you very much for your time!