Raymond Qualms' Challenging Adventure as a Trainee at The Public Network

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Are you about to graduate and want a career where you can make an impact? Then you’d might enjoy a traineeship within the public sector. 

Take The Public Network, for example, where, as an information management trainee, you contribute to improving information management with Dutch government agencies and have plenty of room to grow. Are you wondering if such a traineeship is a good fit for you?

We sat down with Raymond Qualm to ask about his career path, the projects he's working on, and the development he's undergoing during his traineeship, and why a traineeship wasn't Raymond's first choice but turned out to be his best.

The Public Network helps starters develop into professionals through guidance in personal leadership, professional skills, and subject-matter expertise. They offer this through various traineeships, including the Information Management Traineeship. Here, the trainee focuses on improving information processes within the public sector and advising on how to make their information systems more transparent and efficient.

To say that Raymond Qualm hasn't been idle in recent years is an understatement. Whilst studying Public Sector Management and Communication Sciences, he knew that he wanted a job where he could contribute to society. Yet after successfully graduating both masters, he had no idea what exactly he wanted to do.

“I knew I wanted to work for an organization with a public purpose, but I had no clue where or in what role,” he said. After a broad search and multiple applications, he discovered that having two master's degrees do not guarantee a job. “During interviews, it kept coming up that I lacked practical experience. After six months, I still only had rejections," he explained.

Initially, a traineeship didn’t have his preference, but in Raymond's situation, it turned out to be the best move. “I came across The Public Network on LinkedIn and was immediately excited. Their work around the Open Government Act really appealed to me. I knew that in this traineeship, I could be engaged in societal work and the coursework from my studies integrated seamlessly with it.”

What does a traineeship at The Public Network look like?

When Raymond started at The Public Network, he was pleasantly surprised by how the traineeship unfolded. “You can tailor the traineeship to your own tastes, which I didn't expect," he remarked. Another surprise was that he immediately got to work on developing an escape room-like game aimed at raising awareness among mayors and council members.

Information management trainees at The Public Network have a broad range of tasks. “You work on diverse projects; anything can come up," says Raymond. “For example, I am currently working on a municipal project where I conduct interviews, prepare reports, and keep an eye on the schedule,” he added. “That diversity in tasks is very enjoyable.”

When asked what the most important competency is for this traineeship, Raymond gives an intriguing answer: “Curiosity! You need it a lot in this role," he emphasized. “You need to listen well and really want to understand how things work.” Adaptability is also important according to Raymond. “Your work as a trainee is very varied, so you need to be able to handle transitions smoothly.”

Do you need to have all these skills before you apply?

“Certainly not,” Raymond assures us. You receive coaching and guidance from day one. “I immediately gained a lot of knowledge from experts in the field and my personal buddy who was working on projects in municipalities.”

The Public Network's training center—Public Academy—also plays an important role. “On this platform, you choose your own training, allowing you to learn and grow in a way that suits you. And you can immediately apply this in practice because you are encouraged to work independently.”

How does The Public Network contribute to the development of trainees?

Although Raymond already has two master's degrees, he has learned an enormous amount during his traineeship. “The learning curve is steep, especially in the first few weeks, but you are well guided and receive substantive training where you gain a lot of knowledge,” he stated. Not only has Raymond experienced significant professional growth in recent months, but his personal development has also taken off. “From the very first conversation, I noticed that The Public Network wanted to support my development. I am particularly learning a great deal about interpersonal skills. This is partly thanks to my coach, who gives me valuable tips, as well as the personal leadership program I followed.”

The Public Network offers trainees great opportunities for the future. During your traineeship, you are trained to become a mid-level professional and receive help in finding a job that suits you. Raymond: During your traineeship, you will be trained to become a mid-level professional and receive assistance in finding a job that suits you. Raymond says, 'You move on, but still feel connected to the network you were a part of" he noted. “I find that a beautiful dynamic."

Raymond's advice for students entering the job market.

Although Raymond initially didn't see a traineeship as an option, he is now very happy with his choice. His advice to students is simple: “Give things a chance and keep an open mind. I never expected to follow a traineeship, but in hindsight, I wouldn't have wanted anything different,” he shared. A second piece of advice Raymond wants to share is to have an open conversation about your ambitions. “The Public Network was very open to a conversation to really help me discover what suited me. They focus on ensuring that if the person is happy in a role, they will also perform better.”

Curious about the available traineeships at The Public Network? Connect with them on Magnet.me via this link.