Hiring PhDs both sustains and enhances the mission and growth of an organisation

 

According to the latest edition of the “Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), critical thinking and problem-solving as well as self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility top the list of skills that employers believe will grow in prominence by 2025. As such, PhD candidates tick all the boxes.

As part of the EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme, we met Lindie van der Westhuizen, a Research and Development Specialist within the Computer-Based Assessment research group at the University of Luxembourg. With a first experience in the private sector as an organisational psychologist prior to her PhD, she is now eager to apply her skills and knowledge to private employers in Luxembourg. 

 

Combining an academic and …

 

Undoubtedly, PhD holders create value from their thesis that is of use for employment outside academia. Lindie van der Westhuizen had the opportunity to come to Luxembourg in 2017. She has worked on a number of different projects, including  the enhanCe project which investigates the role of conscientiousness skills as enhancers of academic success in secondary education. Her own dissertation focused on the development of students’ academic competence beliefs, interests, and emotions. Currently, she is involved in a project involving lifelong learning, digital educational technology, and 21st century education. With interests in Psychological Assessment, Psychometrics, Organisational Psychology and Educational Psychology, Lindie has acquired strong technical and methodological skills on top of critical and analytical thinking, ability to handle complex problems as well as project management and leadership skills.

 

"The research project I am involved in is a very good mix of different fields of psychology, which allows me to explore new horizons. As far as soft skills are concerned, I have had the opportunity to interact with many different people and to build strong relationships quite quickly. Communication and teamwork have also been essential to the success of this project, in addition to planning and project management. Finally, I have been able to learn and speak new languages. For example, I have studied German quite extensively and I am currently taking Luxembourgish lessons. So I hope to be able to take up French next year."

Lindie van der Westhuizen  

… a business background

 

Prior to joining the University of Luxembourg, Lindie worked as a consultant in applied research and talent management across various industries and lectured part-time at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

"For the past few years I have been straddling the line between academia and non academia. Following my Master's degree, I started working in various consulting firms while teaching, then worked as an organisational psychologist before returning to academia. Now I would like to switch back to the private sector and find a company where I can practice my skills in a very applied context."

Lindie van der Westhuizen

Lindie wishes to join a Luxembourg-based company that has a positive impact, whether it is on individuals, on other businesses, or on society in general. She is interested in consulting, (data) analyst, research, and specialist roles in the fields of Human Resources and/or Education. 

 

Mentoring as one of the keys to transition successfully

 

As linear career progression comes to an end, forcing people to change jobs, PhDs need to develop skills to adapt to uncertain labour markets. Showing them to examine alternative careers is therefore important. In this vein, the EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme provides PhDs with the means to reflect on their career goals, competencies and professional options; to facilitate their transition from an academic to a non-academic career; to create network opportunities with working professionals, seek advice and nurture a business culture thanks to regular exchanges with mentors. To be well prepared for her switch to the Luxembourg labour market outside academia, Lindie took part in this free-of-charge mentoring programme 2getthere, comprising workshops, personal coaching and mentoring sessions.

‘‘EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme gives you some very practical skills to get into the job hunt and to make the transition from academia to industry while having a mentor. I believe it's a fantastic opportunity for someone to question some of your assumptions, whether they're personal assumptions about your attitudes, skills or thinking, or whether they're assumptions about how you see the world and the possibilities that exist.’’

Lindie van der Westhuizen

Within the EURAXESS Luxembourg mentoring programme, Lindie was supported by two mentors, namely Dzmitry Kliazovich and Ralph Useldinger.

EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme aims to support early-stage researchers on their way to transitioning into a non-academic career in Luxembourg. Discover more about EURAXESS Luxembourg 2getthere mentoring programme