Career Talks, a career’s event held by EKT and Ioannina University

Networking, counselling and alternative career paths were on foucs of the ‘Career Talks’ event held by Knowledge and Partnership Bridges and ‘HORIZON 2020 ERA-Mobilcar’.

An event, highlighting the unconventional work and learning paths through inspiring talks from young and more experienced professionals, entrepreneurs and researchers, was held on Thursday 8 November in Ioannina, by the National Documentation Centre and the Employment & Career Centre (DASTA) Ioannina University, Euraxess Services Centre. ‘Career Talks’ was part of ‘Careers Day’ organised by the ‘Knowledge and Partnership Bridges’ initiative and the ‘HORIZON 2020 ERA-Mobilcar’ project.

Digital jobs, mobility of young people, networking, mentoring, links between research and the labour market, new ways of ‘smart’ management of studies, and innovative entrepreneurship were at the centre of discussions aimed at broadening the horizons of all those taking part.

The motivating speakers included senior representatives of the labour market, distinguished researchers and scientists from Greece and abroad, young entrepreneurs from different professional backgrounds, who made suggestions for educational and professional development. During the open discussion which followed, ideas about stereotypical career paths were challenged, with participating students and graduates of Ioannina University posing questions for the speakers.

Mamantos Prodomidis, Professor of Chemistry and Science officer EURAXESS Services Centre of Ioannina University, and Dimitris Sanopoulos, Co-ordinator of the Greek Network EURAXESS, from the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), opened the event.

The first round table focused on science and cutting edge technology and opened with Anastasia Nikolopoulou, Professor of Radiopharmaceutical Science at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, who joined the meeting online from San Diego. A member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Association of Biosciences USA, A. Nikolopoulou talked about the value of mentoring for young scientists, something that she, herself, benefitted from in her career. Manolis Babatsikos, a young entrepreneur, who, after graduating from Aegean University, went to England for post graduate studies and later worked for several major companies, explained to the students that he saw a professional opportunity in Greece in the application of three-dimensional technology, augmented and virtual reality in medicine, and that was the reason for his return. Through ‘Knowledge and Partnership Bridges’ he networked with Greek doctors and he now foresees a bright future.

Next to speak was Nicolaos Moschatos, Human Resources Manager at Accenture, who has worked for many years for a global company which offers young people job opportunities. He explained that now young people have a lot more opportunities than they had in the past, because of companies like his own, which create working environments that will keep a graduate in Greece. Elias Stathatos, Department of Electrical EngineeringTEI of Western Greece and co-founder of BRITE Solar Hellas, referred to the role of innovation in research and the need to connect it with the labour market. The last speaker was Ioannis Chilibaris,  who talked about his own career. He told the audience to remember the three Ts; ‘Ταλέντο, Τόλμη & Τύχη’ – ‘Talent, Dare & Luck’.

The second round table, focusing on the Humanity studies and professions, included Maria Kaliampou, professor of Modern Greek at Yale University. She stressed the value of mobility programmes such as Erasmus, a programme which positively influenced her career, since it led to her doctorate studies in Germany. Faye Orfanou, Innovation Facilitator, AELIA, emphasised the role played by the Humanities in the professional development of young people.

The youngest speaker of the day, Konstantinos Maragkos, co-founder of WE AfriHug and Erasmus Mundus Association Ambassador, talked about his experiences through Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus changed his career path and way of thinking. The last to speak was Olga Stamadioudaki, Organisational Development & Corporate Communication Director, Qualco who explained her change in career from Humanities to an ICT company. She likened careers nowadays to a horizontal bar: you can go up and down or left and right, they are more flexible and thus young professionals need to adapt to new conditions.

Both panels were co-ordinated by Dimitris Maragkos, co-ordinator of the ‘Knowledge and Partnership Bridges’ initiative’ and Effie Geronimaki, Head of Employment and Careers Department Ioannina University.

The event was attended by over 180 young people, while 4,000 from 20 countries worldwide and 15 cities in Greece followed the proceedings via livestreaming. Video with the highlights can be found here, while video of the whole event is available here.