2019 Uniterra annual review meeting

During March 13-14, 2019, the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) in Vietnam organized its Uniterra annual meeting. The objectives of the meeting were to review the past year achievements, discuss priorities for the coming years and for partners and volunteers to network in order to strengthen cooperation.

Mrs. Mary Beshai – our Asia Regional Coordinator-, our volunteers and our partners attended the meeting. It was also an opportunity for our partners to share their achievements and highlight the successful support provided WUSC during the past year.

The Tourism Department – Hanoi Open University presented their responsible tourism training program, a new program for students;

The director of the Volunteer for Education Organization (V.E.O) presented two development projects supported by WUSC to improve leadership and soft skills of the students while promoting the community-based tourism by building a homestay booking platform;

Saigon Tourist Hospitality College shared a book review on Innovation in Hospitality Education – Anticipating the Education Needs of a Changing Profession.

Additionally, a group of volunteers delivered a presentation on the Green Initiative implemented by WUSC in order to inspire our partners to reduce plastic waste to keep our planet clean.

Moreover, other volunteers shared their knowledge and achievements with their partners in Vietnam on business planning and partnership development.

All the participants have found the knowledge sharing interesting and useful to their work. For further information relating to the meeting and its materials, please contact our Communication Officer at [email protected]

Digital Marketing

Ms. Stephanie Lapointe, a Marketing and Communication Advisor from Canada, has a one-year volunteer mandate (January 13, 2018 – January 12, 2019) with our Vietnamese partner, FPT University, within the framework of the Uniterra program managed by WUSC in Vietnam. Along with her key partner, FPT University, she has also supported projects for other Vietnamese partners such as Bac Thang Long, Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), and KOTO.
On November 14, she delivered a one-day training workshop for marketing and recruitment specialists of FPT Education on an in-depth look at marketing in a digital world. For this workshop, she shared her experiences with and knowledge of new data-driven strategies to enhance their current marketing plans. The training content covered a few different themes to inspire teams to be more strategic and creative with their digital campaigns. Topics included digital marketing trends, the fundamentals of building a digital marketing strategy, data driven strategies, social media management and data-driven creative. For the final part of the workshop, attendees worked in groups to develop their own creative pitch for a digital storytelling campaign targeted at prospective students.

With the knowledge and experiences shared during the workshop, Stephanie is hoping that these marketing professionals will be inspired to infuse more strategy and creativity in their digital marketing campaigns to reach prospective students in Vietnam.

WUSC joined the World Clean-up Day

WUSC joined 156 countries and more than 13 million volunteers globally for World Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 15th to raise awareness on the importance of keeping our communities clean and reducing the use of plastic. WUSC Vietnam joined the cleanup in partnership with Keep Hanoi Clean at Ho Ba Mau Lake, Hanoi. We’re committed to including more environmentally responsible practices and activities in everything we do because we recognize the impact of pollution in Vietnam. We recently established the WUSC Green Committee to focus on reducing our use of single-use plastic and inspire our partners to do the same.

Thank you Olivia Dymek, volunteer with SRD and WUSC Vietnam’s Green Committee leader, for taking the initiative to lead this cleanup location on behalf of WUSC Vietnam. The event was a success, attracting a wide range of participants from local NGOs, the Women’s Union, the Youth’s Union, private sector, youth, children, international organizations, the Canadian Embassy, and even a few local citizens in the neighborhood joined in.

Strengthening Linkages between HTC and Businesses

Ms. Adam Diouf, a Partnership Development Advisor from Canada, has a one-year volunteer mandate with our Vietnamese partner – Hanoi Tourism College (HTC), in the framework of the Uniterra progam managed by WUSC in Vietnam, from April 15, 2018 to April 14, 2019. Since April 2018, she has met with HTC’s management team and key teaching staff along with industry partners. The objective was to explore ways to improve the partnership between HTC and the tourism partners, including universities, 4-5 star hotels, and restaurants which directly hire HTC graduates as interns and/or employees.

In August, a series of conferences had been organized at HTC between partners and the HTC department of Accounting for Tourism, department of Hotel and Restaurant Management, and department of Food Processing. The aim was to listen to feedback from the partners on students’ internship: the difficulties, the obstacles, the specific requirements and HTC’s curricula.

The leaders of HTC highly appreciated the feedback from these discussions, leading to agreements on the following to improve the relationships with partners:

  1. Student internships: HTC will improve their curriculum and internship program to make it better fit the partners’ requirements.
  2. Teachers’ update: The partners will not only engage on the career and personal development for students, but they will also send their experts to train HTC students and teachers in different disciplines. Teachers will update their knowledge & skills with practical visits to the field and the creation of a network or community of culinary experts.
  3. Business Partnership: Both sides agree to develop a business partnership in order to have an efficient network for sharing knowledge, ongoing practical training and to develop business projects for modernizing HTC’s practice rooms and equipment. This will also allow for more partners’ visibility, notoriety and corporate social responsibility. These agreements will be signed under a MOU in the future.

Adam’s contribution to this partnership is of great significance by helping to make the training program more practical and better matched the needs and realities of the partners. Whereby, it makes it easier for students to find a job after graduation and for the companies to have access to a higher quality workforce.

Marketing Support for Women Start-ups

Maria Racanelli, a Professor from Humber college in Canada came to Vietnam to work as a volunteer –with our partner – the Women Initiative for Start-ups & Enterprises (WISE) from July 29 to August 19.

During her mission in Vietnam, she worked with the leaders of WISE to support building their capacity, especially on marketing. She also had coacing sessions with 11 members of WISE in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city to support them review their business plans and give recommendations for further development.

On this occasion, she hosted two workshops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cityon Marketing – Customers are your Business. Around 50 women start-ups attended these workshops and they were equipped with sound knowledge on marketing through group exercises and lessons sharing. The participants worked together to analyse the customers’ insight, discussed examples of customers’ demands on specific products/services, such as smart-phone or Grab service, create customers’ profile, identify customers’ demands based on their products/services, how to create value for customers, the importance of pricing strategy, how to get and use customer feedbacks. In addition, participants were encouraged to share practical examples at  their company.

The workshops, received many positive feedbacks from WISE and participants. Ms. Thuy, WISE’ representative said “two most valuable things the expert contributed were her good expertise on marketing for businesses, and her excellent ability to inspire the participants”. Mai Tran, a participant said: “Though the lesson was quite short, it was really focused. The expert hasfantastic expertise, her speaking was easy to understand, and she was very enthusiastic”. Or “the training course helped her better understand her customers and enabled her to re-orient her marketing strategy”, said Hua Hien, another participant.What was important was that many participants said they will apply the knowledge learned to  start their marketing work, create customers database, and developproducts to meet customer’s  demands.

Women are the target group of Uniterra program managed by WUSC and we hope to have more supporting activities in future.

“Key Essentials to Customer Services” – a workshop for women start-ups

On July 24th, WUSC Vietnam in collaboration with the Women Initiative for Start-ups & Enterprises (WISE) organised a workshop for 22 women start-ups on key essentials for Customer Services.

Kariann Workman, our Tourism & Hospitality Advisor, Uniterra volunteer led the workshop and once again took the crowd by storm with her thorough understanding and diverse knowledge in the field, together with a great sense of humour. The participants worked together to analyse the customers’ insight, look into some examples and practices to identify solutions. Everyone also had chances to share the stories from their own organisations to get feedback and advises from the host and fellow participants.

After the workshop, we have received a number of positive feedbacks from WISE and the participants. “From Kariann’s examples and sharings, I realise how I should love my customers more, and work towards giving them a “wow” experience.”, Tram Phan, one of the participants said.

WISE also expressed their expectation in receiving more experienced experts from Uniterra to organise high-quality workshops for the women start-ups from WISE and Vietnam in general.

The Art of Networking

On March 30th 2018, Hue College of Tourism successfully organised a networking event at their training hotel, Hue Villa, with support from WUSC Vietnam and the Uniterra programme. With the purpose of bringing students and local businesses closer together, 70 students and 12 representatives from the hospitality industry joined together in a busy and inspiring morning.

Christiane Côté, Uniterra Volunteer with WUSC Vietnam, conducted a one-hour session on networking. With extensive experience in organisational psychology and career management, as well as consultation, the session included varied interactive activities and information on the idea of networking and how to make the most of it.

In her presentations, Christiane demonstrated how networking is an essential part of an individual’s successful career management plan as it enables access to the hidden market, which represents roughly 80% of all available jobs. Using several practical examples, the session showed how our network is much wider than we may think, with a series of unexpected resources within our families, neighbourhood, local community, friends of friends’, etc. It was also emphasized that networking is a continued process throughout our careers and must be maintained regularly.

Mr. Nguyen Huu Binh, General Manager of Mondial, shared with students his inspiring career path, starting by working as a waiter to his current position of General Manager of one of the most prominent 4-star hotels in Hue.

The students also had a chance to discuss directly with our guest-speakers about problems related to skills trainings, their career path, and employment. Many of them were offered internship opportunities, which is a concrete example of how good networking can bring great success.

Women Start-up Step up with WISE

Supporting youth and young women in employment and business in Vietnam is a big priority for the Canadian Government and the Uniterra programme. We have recently started working with the Women’s Initiative for Start-ups and Entrepreneurship (WISE), an initiative established by the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) and funded by the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support women in start-ups and business in the Mekong Region.

Uniterra has chosen to support WISE because its primary goal aligns with our vision: to support women who have the creativity and drive to start and grow their business but are often met with too many barriers to see success.

On March 28, 2018, WISE launched the Women Innovation Challenge, calling for women to participate in the first-ever competition for start-ups exclusive to women in the Mekong region. WUSC Vietnam was honoured to be the main sponsor for the launch event. Ms Hue Nguyen, WUSC Vietnam’s Country Coordinator, Stephanie Lapointe, Marketing and Communications Advisor and Nhung Luu, Digital Media Advisor, attended the event on behalf of WUSC and the Uniterra programme.

By joining this competition, early-stage start-ups with female founders and co-founders with innovative and scalable business models in the four countries are offered the opportunity to showcase their innovations, compete for prizes, gain valuable mentorship, get access to investments and markets, and widen their professional networks.

“While women made enormous strides and successes in the past decades, they still face greater challenges than men in starting up and especially in raising capital for business. They have strong potential for innovation but need a strong push to materialize ideas into business and comprehensive support to grow the business. That’s reason why the WISE Challenge is launched” – said Tu Thu Hien, WISE Founder & CEO.

As WISE’s partner and launch event sponsor, WUSC and Uniterra hope to contribute to the development of women start-ups and inspire more young women to take the lead, rise to the challenge, and continue to innovate to benefit the economies of the four countries in the Mekong Region.

The competition is now open for submission and will close on May 15th, 2018. More information on the application can be found at www.challenge.wisevietnam.org/

Uniterra Vietnam Annual Review 2017 – 2018

Another year has gone by, and we once again had the opportunity to gather for our Annual Review 2016-17 to evaluate our program and highlight achievements after a busy and productive year. From March 19 to March 22, 40 participants, including representatives from key partners, volunteers and programme officers, attended a series of meetings. This year, we were also joined by Stephanie Hoey, Uniterra, Regional Coordinator Asia.

During the first two days, Uniterra programme officers and partners presented highlights of our work from over the past year. It was an honour to hear about our volunteers’ contributions and how they have largely benefited our partners. For example, the Dynamic Methods of Employment Research (DMER) programme and the promotional video for Hue Tourism College have seen many positive results. Along with our successes, some solutions for better management and working with volunteers were also discussed.

With the emphasis placed on Tourism and ICT, industry knowledge was also shared with attendees from key partners. Ms Luong Thanh Thao, Saigon Tourist & Hospitality College’s Vice President talked about skills gap and skills shortage in Vietnam Tourism Industry, and Ms Hoang Thu Huong, Director of the Global Office, FPT University presented on the 4.0 Technology Revolution and its impact on education.

In the final two days, we had varied internal discussions and knowledge sharing sessions among Uniterra volunteers, the programme officers and our Regional Director on the direction and planning of the upcoming year. The cross-project cooperation among volunteers from different partners is highly encouraged and we’re always looking for opportunities to combine the skills of our volunteers to benefit our partners.

This year’s Annual Review brought some significant results and we have received positive feedback from the participants. We look forward to another successful year with more achievements as we are moving closer towards the end of Uniterra phase III in 2020.

I Have A Dream with Hanoi Tourism College

As part of her mandate as a Career Services Officer at Hanoi Tourism College (HTC), Uniterra volunteer Frédérique Filiatrault delivered the “I Have a Dream” campaign to the school’s students.

“I Have a Dream”, a renowned career orientation campaign that started in 2015, is a series of workshops to help students learn about setting career goals, the path to achieve those goals, and the soft skills and knowledge required to increase their employability.

For the first session on March 13th, a group of students from different faculties of HTC learned about the importance of setting goals for their future and tips on how to achieve their dreams. This was followed by the second session focusing on communication and problem solving skills as well as success stories from alumni of the school.

With the last session on March 29th, Frédérique and HTC organised a networking breakfast, in which they invited two representatives from Hanoi Intercontinental Hotel. During this session, students were given the opportunity to talk and gain some further insights into the hospitality and tourism industry, the actual requirements for each position, and the challenges they have to overcome to achieve their dreams. With one of the two guest speakers being an HTC alumni, the pathway to such a career seemed to be much clearer and achievable to the students.

“I was able to talk to guest speakers and ask many questions about career and jobs, which is really useful for us as we are just about to start this journey.”Quynh, a student attended the workshop.

Aside from having more inspiration and tips on how to achieve their career goals, the students were able start building a professional network and enjoy a few treats while doing so!