As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated travel restrictions the Manager Training Programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been precautionally and temporarily suspended in the first quarter of 2020. Initiated in 1997 by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI) the Manager Training Programme has brought more than 14,000 business owners and executives from 21 partner countries to Germany. Ever since, international delegations have met thousands of companies from various sectors, received intercultural manager and leadership training programmes and built business relationships, in particular with German small and medium sized enterprises.
As this year´s global health situation made it necessary to think of different and innovative formats, GIZ has been developing a virtual roadmap of the programme. Instead of the original four-week programme taking place at one of the training centres in Germany, the chosen delegations will attend an eight-week programme online. As one of the training centres, IMAP has been assigned to organise the programme for a highly motivated delegation from Chile. Coordinated by GIZ, 19 Chilean participants were selected from the green business sector, such as renewable energy, consultancy, engineering, forestry, fishery, agriculture, food industry and IT for the digital programme running from August to September 2020.
At the official opening event representatives from the BMWI, GIZ and CORFO welcomed the participants and honoured their commitment to attend the programme even in the economically challenging times of COVID-19. IMAP´s CEO Bülent Arslan encouraged the participants to be open for the changes to come in global business and make full use of the pilot character and the inherent potential of the digitally transformed manager training programme: “It´s a great and unique chance to become highly skilled and successful in tomorrow´s world of international business corporation.”
The programme consists of digital training courses of international management competencies, virtual company visits serving to learn from practical insights as well as the realisation of a cooperation project with German business partners.
Training of management skills such as International Project Management, Cross-Cultural Management or Marketing and Logistics are now taking place virtually by the use of IMAP´s digital learning platform. The experience of the first four virtual events shows that initial technical issues and concerns will soon dissolve after getting comfortable with the platform being used. Our trainer for Cross-Cultural Management, Mr. van den Hövel summarises: “Our new concept of the programme and especially the functionality of our web conference tool comes surprisingly close to conducting a training physically with the participants. I feel like our online conference room really develops into a physical room itself, where even interpersonal cross-cultural phenomena become apparent.”
IMAP has explored various options of realising virtual company visits in the upcoming weeks, among others livestreams of a virtual company tour or moderated video conferences for the exchange of experiences and know-how between professionals. Following the first week of introduction and training the virtual approach of learning and doing business will face different questions and challenges. However we are very confident that we can offer an experience that comes as close as possible to the physical company visits we´ve facilitated before COVID-19. We´re happy and proud to host one of the first virtual manager trainings programmes of GIZ and grow with it!