Q&A: Europe’s Graduates Ready to Deliver Bright Economic Future

- Leadership - Oct 05, 2014

Valentina Cristea is Axiom Manufacturing Service’s latest graduate. She left Romania having studied political science to degree level and settled in South Wales, determined to better her career and dedicate her endeavours to the world of supply chain.

Her story shows that Europe’s up and coming younger generation is ready to bring new life into the continent and drive an optimistic future post-recession.

With an abundance of willing graduates out there for businesses to employ, they are a resource many companies can ill afford to be without when considering their long term plans.

Valentina took time to tell Business Review Europe about why she travelled so far to further her career and why it is so important for businesses to allow young people into their organisations.

BRE: Tell us about yourself and your background. When did you decide to move from Romania and settle in South Wales? Was there an element of risk involved in your decision?

VC: I’ve studied in three different countries - Romania, Spain and the UK. In Romania I completed an undergraduate degree in political science as well as one year of a master’s degree in “politics, gender and minorities. My move to South Wales was spurred on by my career advisor in Romania who recommended the business course at the University of South Wales.

At the time I was looking for a field that would offer me better career opportunities. The move was a big jump for me and I had a lot to consider when making this change such as cultural differences, language barriers, work options and of course financial risks.

Much has been made of the so-called modern disconnect between higher education/university degrees and transferring this to work in the real world – how important was it for you to study something which would lead directly into a working career?

There is indeed a significant difference between theory and practice in the business environment, however more and more universities are trying to make their students more employable by giving them the opportunity of a work placement prior to graduation.

As part of my degree course I undertook a year in industry with Prysmian Group UK which gave me the opportunity to learn how businesses work, what skills employers are looking for in their future employees and certainly helped me find employment.

Also I’ve found that logistics and supply chain is a growing field and therefore the career paths that exist within this industry can range from clerks to CEOs who manage multinational supply chains.

What would your advice be to other women trying to break into what has traditionally been regarded as a male-dominated procurement and/or electronics profession?

Gender has always been one of my favourite topics. I truly believe that even in the 21st century the gender distribution across all industry sectors is still uneven from many perspectives. However, we are seeing an improved and increased number of extremely educated women moving into high-ranking decision-making positions.

I strongly believe that more and more organisations are encouraging women to penetrate these traditionally male-dominated positions by offering them access to know-how and training in order to gain more technological capabilities or technical competences.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I see myself working at Axiom, as I thoroughly enjoy what I am currently doing- despite still being in my training period, with so many things to learn. However, I hope that in five years I will be in a more strategic role as I am truly passionate about supply chain as a field and as a business strategy.

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