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    Stern Stewart Institute


    Talented young IT enthusiasts from Burkina Faso

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    The Burkina Institute of Technology and Krones offer students an opportunity to expand their skill set during an internship.
    • Students at BIT can choose between electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science. Image credits:

      Stern Stewart Institute

    Getting a taste of day-to-day business at a world market leader, completing a demanding internship and enhancing both professional and personal skills – These are things that cannot be taken for granted even by many young people in Europe and they amount to a fantastic opportunity for the students of the Burkina Institute of Technology (BIT). Burkina Faso is ranked 184th out of 191 countries in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) HDI Report 2021-2022. And due to the fact that there are fewer jobs on the market, youth unemployment is also high.

    “Talent is equally spread around the world. No matter where you are, young people are talented. What is missing is access to education and opportunities. The number of young people is quite high in Burkina Faso. That means access to education is needed,” explains Francis Kéré, the Founder of Kéré Architecture and architect of the Burkina Institute of Technology.

    In 2018, the Burkina Institute of Technology in Koudougou was founded to facilitate access to higher education in the West African country Burkina Faso. The private college offers courses in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science and is striving to train a new generation of specialists, providing them not only with the requisite technical knowledge but also with management skills.

    A cooperative alliance with Krones then materialised in 2022: The Krones experts Stephan Berger, Wasim Mughal and Marco Nebes gave presentations, spotlighting digitalisation in the food and beverage industry. “We wanted to inspire the students and help them make the connection between the theory they are taught in their courses and its practical use in industrial applications,” explains Stephan Berger, Vice President Lifecycle Services Middle East and Africa. A one-hour presentation via Teams was followed by half an hour for questions and discussion. That first point of contact between BIT students and Krones turned into a special opportunity for the young IT enthusiasts because it didn’t take long to realise that the BIT’s thematic emphasis fits in neatly with one of Krones’ main targets, which is to create future-viable digital solutions.

    “There’s so much hidden potential in countries like Burkina Faso because their population is very young. We should put out feelers there. Presenting our company as an attractive employer in these countries will definitely be a benefit for Krones as much as for these young people,” explains Stephan Berger.

    That was why internship vacancies at Krones were proactively advertised to BIT students – with resounding success because four students from Burkina Faso are currently doing a Krones internship in the fields of IOS and IT support in different locations across Middle East and Africa. Stephan Berger is more than satisfied with the students: “These guys are receptive, proactively committed to their jobs and possess that little extra dedication and enthusiasm.”

    And how do the students describe their experience gained in the internship?

    Making his hobby his profession

    Benjamin Compaore, Ben for short, is a computer science student and one of the two interns in Stephan’s department. Since September 2022, he has supported the digitalisation team in Dubai primarily in the fields of digital services, service agreements and 3D printing. At present, his main task – which, he tells us, is also his favourite task – is to create a dashboard for a 3D-print project. The target is to subsequently be able to read printer data from the dashboard, like the duration of the printing process, the filament that was used and its quantity, etc.

    “I like being creative, and I just love programming. When you start, you never want to stop again. You will often find me programming at my computer in my free time, too,” says the 23- year-old, laughing. Mind you, there’s no shortage of fun at the weekends. After all, Ben lives in what is one of the world’s most exciting cities! “Living here is an amazing experience. I call it a new world because it is so different from what I was used to at home. And it’s also my very first trip away.”

    I like being creative, and I just love programming. When you start, you never want to stop again. Erwin HächlBen CompaoreIntern at Krones in Dubai

    One of the highlights during Ben’s internship was visiting a Krones customer’s premises in Dubai. “Actually seeing the machines in operation helped me understand my own work a lot better. The lines were running fully automatically, no employee was there. That was so crazy, it impressed me a lot,” Ben tells us.

    Image 36028
    Ben and his team leader Stephan in the Dubai office.

    Collaborating across two continents? No problem!

    Jule Domboue, too, learned of an internship vacancy at Krones through the BIT. He had to complete a coding challenge to test his skills. Since March, he has been part of the Cloud Core/Platform team of Krones’ digitalisation experts in Germany, working from home in Koudougou. There are more than 4,000 kilometres between him and his team. Given the time difference of only two hours, that is no problem, he says. At times, he’d wish he had faster internet but all in all working across two continents is just fine.

    Image 36029
    Jule works with the team in Germany from his home office in Burkina Faso.

    Jule and his job as an intern are a perfect match: “English has always been my passion. Burkina Faso’s official language is French but in the BIT the courses are held in English. That was the main reason for me to enrol there. I didn't know anything about computers back then. I started from scratch and gradually discovered my enthusiasm for computer science,” says Jule. His daily work as an intern consists mainly of cloud development. For example, his team are creating a digital platform in the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud, and Jule is tasked with writing a piece of code to automate the German-to-English translation system. That means he can combine his two passions – programming and English – to optimum effect.

    Krones and the BIT intend to progress their cooperation in future, so as to offer more students an opportunity to complete an exciting international internship while simultaneously promoting diversity in the company.

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