[Meet the Team] Interview with Abel

by Aug 31, 2020News

Because BeCode is also a team of 37 motivated people who do their utmost to offer a high quality training to our learners, we invite you to join us behind the scenes and meet our team. 

Today, meet Abel, in charge of communication and marketing in Brussels. 

Want to know more about his job, his projects and his achievements? 

Read his interview here : 

Abel Magolu

Tom : Hi Abel, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Abel : Sure! I’ll start with my studies. I’ve always been very curious about economics and marketing. That’s why I followed a Bachelor’s course in marketing at the EPHEC. And I had a great time there and met wonderful people, including teachers who made me want to do this job and work in the digital sector. Afterwards, I felt like going deeper into this area and I started a Master’s degree in Information & Communication at the UCL. During my last year there, I’ve focused on communication for social non-profits, as I was already very much involved in those. 

Afterwards I’ve become a teacher in a high school. This is the other side of my profile : I love teaching and transmitting knowledge. So I became a marketing teacher. Right after this, I became communications officer for a non-profit that aims at helping friends and families of people with severe illnesses. That allowed me to take a plunge into the digital marketing world. 

And then someone told me about BeCode, and I was curious about it. 

Tom : When you heard about BeCode, what made you want to join the project?

Abel : There are several reasons why I decided to work at BeCode. 

Firstly, I love the project. And I think that is something that we all have in common in the BeCode team, whatever our background or personalities, we love the project in itself : the fact that we help people who are remote from employment get closer to a job. 

In this industry, there is a lot of competition, and there are countless institutions that offer trainings that have no future because they do not focus on the skills that will help people. Our training really has an positive impact, and that’s been proven. 

I’m also very interested in the IT world. That’s another aspect that I liked about the company. 

And when I was told that my mission would also consist in organizing and hosting workshops, I knew it was a perfect match!

Tom : You’ve already worked in other beautiful organizations before this, but what have you learned about yourself since you’ve been working at BeCode?

Abel : I’ve learned that I’m even more curious than I thought. 

I already knew I liked the digital world, but I didn’t know I would become so interested in the IT sector. I really like the coding skills that I’ve learned in workshops with learners since I’ve been part of the team, and I’ve also done some more by myself at home. 

As we have a very cool partnership with Coderdojo who’s made available robots for us to play with, I’ve had the opportunity to to learn how to program them, and that is something I’ve very much enjoyed. 

Tom : Your biggest responsibility at BeCode is to promote the training in order for Brussels learners to register for our trainings. Covid 19 has strongly impacted the way our campaigns work. How are you coping with that?

Abel : We have a focus on several, specific groups that are even more difficult to reach without human contact. Usually, we really need to meet those people and have conversations with them. So that’s definitely a challenge to get in touch with them and convince them that an IT career is a good fit for them. So we’re going to experiment new ways of reaching them online.

We need to adapt, and that’s part of everyday life at Becode.

Tom :  True! What have you already put in place to promote our trainings?

We have organized a national info session on Zoom and our social media pages, addressing our audience in English, Dutch and French. 

We also have a digital tour of the Brussels campus in a couple of weeks for a group of interested candidates from the Mission Locale de Schaerbeek. 

Tom: at BeCode, we have a selection process that’s based on connexion between candidates. With social distancing, it must be a bit more difficult to organize. Can you tell us how it works?

Abel : It’s different, I’m not going to lie. Remote selections work more or less the same way as the usual ones as far as the groups distribution. That means that people get online, we check their identity we separate them into smaller groups. The big difference here is that the groups contain 3 people, in order for them to meet the jurys simultaneously. Each person spends 5 minutes with each jury, as usual. They also have a group project to complete and we have created new tasks for this remote selection process. 

The good aspect is that it’s easier for us to deal with timing. For instance in the jurys, sometimes, some jury members want to extend the 5 minutes speed date. When it’s online, we switch automatically after 5 minutes. 

The negative aspects are that there is no more human contact between people, which, I think, plays a role on the way candidates feel. 

Tom: Let’s talk a bit about your life outside BeCode. I know you are involved in many cool non-profit projects. Could you tell us a bit about this?

Abel : The most important project I’m working on is a youth center that we launched two years ago. We organize a “homework school” for youngsters, and we do many different activities with them. I really like to make them discover lots of things. For example, we go to the theatre, to the ice rink, to the Africa museum in Tervuren, to a code initiation organized by BeCode,… We also organize weekend trips, etc. It’s a very cool project. 

Another project that we are currently launching is “Debrief”. The idea is to help people who are remote from the digital world to understand how it works. So we’ll organize workshops during the weekends. I’m working on this project with Ornella, one of the first students you had at BeCode, back in 2017. She’s really in the turfu. I’m also part of a choir. 

Tom: Before we wrap this up, I’ve still got two questions for you. What’s your best achievement since you’ve joined the BeCode team?

Abel : Tough one! I’ve got two big ones. The first one is the Coderdojo project on which I worked in 2019. I organized a series of workshops with the Robert Catteau high school in Brussels, and I was truly amazed to see the web pages the students were able to make at the end of the workshops. They were very excited about these workshops and it made me proud. 

The second thing that makes me super proud is following a group of learners from the info sessions to their internship, supporting them along the way in every step of their career switch. That’s the best proof to me that what we promise is real. That ain’t no fake, misleading advertising. 

Tom : Nice! I know the rewarding feeling. Last question : What’s been your absolute favorite moment since you’ve worked at BeCode?

Once again, I can’t choose between two memories. The first one was our teambuilding evening back in January, where we cooked all together. I loved it because everyone in the team were enjoying themselves and it was super nice. 

The second memory that comes to my mind is the last day of our Brussels classes (Johnson & Lovelace 4). We organized tournaments and games, and it was plain amazing. 

Tom : Thank you Abel. 

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