Testimonial BLCC Traineeship Sep-Dec 2020

Melanie Plas & Robin Heemskerk & Linde Engels

As trainees at the BLCC we had the opportunity to spend four months working closely with Robin and each other. We both arrived in Hong Kong after the summer holidays, in the midst of the pandemic, and started our traineeship during quarantine. It wasn’t really how we imagined our first on-boarding, but everything went smoothly thanks to many video calls and Robin’s never-ending patience. We were excited to come to Hong Kong, be part of the BLCC and explore this vibrant city with its impressive skyline, beautiful nature, diverse people and tasty food. 

During our four-month internship at the BLCC we worked on various projects, allowing us to explore what we like to do and what less. We were given a lot of responsibility and autonomy, and there was always room for us to give suggestions or propose our own ideas. At the same time, Robin showed understanding when we needed extra explanation. He always took the time to clarify tasks, which made us feel included in all activities of the Chamber. 

This was our first working experience after graduating, and at the end of this internship, we are very happy we made the decision to start our professional career at the BLCC. We learned a lot of practical skills such as composing emails, creating marketing materials, organizing events, writing articles & interviews, attending meetings, managing our website & social media, and even interviewing our potential successors. In addition, as we got to meet many high-level professionals, we made connections, got to know more about their careers and learned how to interact with and reach out to people from various industries and origins. 

Despite the many limitations we faced due to the current global situation, we managed to organise several interesting events. We set up the first Women in Business panel, organised a YP breakfast, hosted the King’s Day Lunch, attended many webinars & were part of the first live broadcasted BBS. Next to that, we worked on diverse projects such as publishing two editions of the Digital Magazine, which included articles we wrote & interviews we did with the Consul-General and high-level entrepreneurs. At the beginning of our traineeship we conducted a Member Investigation, where we reached out to all our members to get an update on how they are doing and to ask about their outlook for 2021. The results of this inquiry were also published in the magazine. 

Next to all of these various projects we worked on and the practical skills we acquired, we also experienced how it is to operate in a team. We both believe it was definitely an added value to be able to work together with another trainee. First, it’s nice to ‘have each other’. Second, we could discuss everything and ask for input from the other, which made it possible to get more work done in an efficient manner. One thing we’ll take away from our time at the BLCC is that teamwork is key and without everyone’s effort many things wouldn’t have been possible. Therefore, we’re grateful to have been part of such an enthusiastic and considerate team.

We can highlight that this traineeship has not only allowed us to gain many useful skills for our future career, it was also an opportunity to discover a part of Asia that was unknown to both of us. We want to thank Robin for all the time and effort he put in guiding us in our work at the BLCC. He does this with enthusiasm and commitment, something we highly appreciate and value. We learned a lot from him and enjoyed working together very much. Moreover, Robin took the time to show us around Hong Kong, taking us to the best restaurants, bars, wet markets, a junk boat, his personal tailor, many viewpoints, etc. It’s not just about doing the job, Robin also made sure we were having a good time and made the most out of our stay in Hong Kong. Finally, we would like to thank the Board of Directors for their advice and active support throughout our traineeship. Four months flew by and before we knew it the Christmas holidays were already there. We can both say that this was an experience we won’t forget & we’ll be back in Hong Kong for sure.

Linde Engels & Melanie Plas