LOIC, FRENCH ENGINEER, BASED IN BELGIUM SINCE 2013
Could you introduce yourself in a few words ?
Well my name is Loic, I am 29 and I am French. I got my Bachelor in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2009 and my Master in microbiological quality assurance in 2011 at the Strasbourg University.
I started to work as a validation engineer in a laboratory specialized in microbiological analysis and joined ALTEN in 2013 as a Quality Assurance consultant for the client France Chirurgie Instrumentation. I am now a Sterility Assurance Support for GSK Vaccines in Belgium.
What was your first motivation to move abroad ?
I worked only for 9 months in Paris, and I was already interested by the opportunities in Belgium. At that time the French market was saturated and there were greater opportunities in Brussels, in bigger companies as top 10 pharmaceutical laboratories.
How did you get this job opportunity ?
Once I realized I could not really move forward in France I applied for other job opportunities in Belgium and asked my manager to propose my profile to his colleagues in Brussels.
How were the first 3 months in your new country and job ?
I was hired in Direct Hiring so I had a small inter contract period when I first arrived. Then after a month I was on project as a Quality Assurance Consultant. So my first three months in my new job was the time for me to adapt to work for a big company in a new environment, which I really enjoy!
And for the country it was great too, I arrived in August, one of the best period to discover Brussels, which is a friendly city by the way!
What are the main issues you had to cope with at the beginning ?
There was no major issue to cope with when I arrived, everything went smoothly, and even finding an apartment was easy. The advantage here is that you don’t pay the agencies when you go apartment hunting, it is the landlord that pays. Furthermore, ALTEN really managed to give me free time to find a place so I could settle properly when I arrived.
Do you feel now integrated in the company? In the country? How have you been welcomed ?
Yes, I feel really well integrated. Being on a big production site means that you work with many consultants, and many of them are from ALTEN, so it creates a like a small community. And I think that, compared to my work in France, there are less distance between colleagues in GSK, I don’t know if it comes from the Belgian part or the fact that we are a production site, but it really pleasant when you arrive in a new job!
For the country, yes, I feel integrated too even though I didn’t catch the Belgian accent yet!
Do you think that this opportunity will bring you more possibilities within the ALTEN Group ?
It remains a rewarding experience, which shows that you are capable of quickly adapting to a new environment, and that it is always appreciated when looking for a new position. And you have to take advantage of any opportunities you can have to develop your career!
Is this step in your career was the best decision to make and why ?
Yes it was clearly the best! It gave me great experience that will be valued later on. It gave me the opportunity to work in international companies and to develop my skills in the specific sterility assurance support, which provides consistency on my CV. And the other advantage of working in Belgium is that even if you switch missions, you don’t need to move out of our apartment because the size of the country makes it easy to travel.
What kind of advice would you give to people who are willing to work abroad ?
It’s a little tricky because for me, Belgium is the first step before really moving abroad.
What is important is that you have to set your goal, define what you want to do and allow you time to achieve it. It is normal to follow some steps before having exactly what you wanted. But, in the same time, you should not lose sight of your primary objective.
What could be the next step for you in a medium term period ?
I want to develop my expertise and stay in Belgium for one or 2 years. And after that I would like to change client, maybe go abroad again. It will mainly depends upon the opportunities, so far nothing is definitely fixed!
What ALTEN should improve to facilitate mobility ?
It has been so easy for me that it is hard to be critical of the mobility process. Maybe having a contact book, with the contact point in every subsidiary would be a good way to introduce yourselves to new opportunities.