On March 16th, this year Empower United Foundation announced the second edition of Empower Young Leadership Development Internship Program with the financial support of "America for Bulgaria Foundation." Today – four months later, the results are already there: after careful selection and a two-week intensive training, 40 of the best Bulgarian students make their experience in one of the companies, partners in the program with the idea to find the place where to reveal their full potential. And if at first sight this sounds easy to reach, the truth is that towards the stable and business-oriented relationship between young people and employers is not a mild undertaking. Because beyond the success of this year and last year's internship program really stand rigorous selection ofpartner companies, tiresome procedure for selection of trainees, provision of appropriate training for themand last but not least - a constant two-way communication with all participants in the program.

This process in figures

The companies. This year their number is 30, or 6 more than last year, which means more difficult coordination, and much more communication.

Positions. 10 more than last year or exactly 40 positions.

Trainees. 341 candidates are competing against each other for a very limited number of places. Simple statistics show that for one position fight 9 people, only one of them gets a chance to realize its potential in the desired company.

Interviews. More than 200 only within the Assessment Center, prepared by the specialists from JobTiger, followed by additional interviews with employers live or via Skype.

Lecturers. 15 professionals, 15 sectors, 15 different conceptions of leadership from which trainees to draw knowledge.

Program. 12 maximum charged days of training based in the American University in Bulgaria, during which trainees not only learn the theory of leadership, but also have the opportunity to experience what they have learned so far - time management, strategic decision making, team work, dealing with conflicts. In addition, each trainee enjoys the advantage of working with 39 potential leaders.

Time. Like last year, and this year Empower Young Leadership Development Internship Program is with duration of 8 weeks. Behind this figure, however, is still several months training and as long evaluation of the results whose end coincides with the beginning of the preparation for the next campaign.

Communication. Hard to measure, yet impressive enough - hundreds of emails and phone calls, dozens of hours spent in interviews, meetings, lectures and seminars. And, of course, constant feedback.

Conclusions beyond numbers

"One of the hardest things about working with people is measuring the results they achieve. When a trainee is pleased with the experience? What motivates him and what makes him feel fulfilled in the workplace? Has eight weeks of training and experience been enough to take a decision for himself what he wants and what he can be? What is the true relationship between education and real business? Is there a difference between those who study in Bulgaria, and those who prefer to complete their education abroad? Why do companies want and take interns from Empower? These are all questions whose answers are as different as the people we can ask. The decision, however, consists in finding individual expectations and abilities of each party - and the interns and the companies - and to combine them so that they get proper symbiosis. Because there is no perfect officers and organizations - there is appropriate staff and appropriate for them companies. The task of the EMPOWER Internship program is to meet them with each other."

Valentina Marinova

Empower United Foundation