What is your current position?
I am currently on a V.I.E. program in the role of "Market Development Manager", based in Antalya, Turkey. I am in charge of developing the DMDS product.
What has been your career path?
I have an engineering degree in international agricultural development from the ISTOM school in Cergy, France. I have been working for Arkema for more than a year and a half. I followed a one-month training program in October 2014 at the headquarters in Colombes before traveling to Turkey to start the V.I.E. program.
What exactly does your role consist of?
I work for Arkema's thiochemicals business. I am in charge of the development of a new product for soil disinfection, called DMDS. It offers an alternative solution to methyl bromide, which is currently banned in Turkey. In more agricultural terms, we are talking about soil fumigation.
What skills does your job require?
Apart from knowledge of agronomics, socio-economics, and technical skills, the key is to be autonomous on the ground, as I am Arkema's sole representative for this product in Turkey. That means I work from a home office, maintaining regular contact with the managers in the headquarters and the technical team in Lacq. Furthermore, you need to have a taste for fieldwork, which accounts for more than half of my work time!
Why did you choose Arkema for this V.I.E. project?
What won me over was the international focus of the company and this innovative project which opens up new possibilities. I also wanted to go and explore a new country and be able to work with farmers. I spotted the job opportunity on a specialist website for V.I.E. programs (civiweb). The recruitment took place in two phases, first with the HR department from the headquarters and then the managers of the thiochemicals BU.
How did your induction go?
I am replacing a former V.I.E. program participant who is now the Fumigation Manager for Europe and the Middle East. So he trained me over the course of a month and gave me the benefit of his experience in Turkey. I found that training phase very helpful in terms of incorporating the technical characteristics of the product and understanding the issues and constraints involved in the project. Then I was very warmly welcomed by the whole Arkema team when I arrived at the office in Istanbul.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
I had to get used to the Turkish language for one, which is necessary if I want to understand others and express myself, as well as the local etiquette and work approach.
What do you like about this placement?
What I really like in this job is being able to work independently in the field, but with the advantage of being well supported and advised by the thiochemicals team. What’s more, it is satisfying to work on a tangible project that contributes to modernizing agriculture.
What are your career plans for afterwards?
To work in a similar position on a larger scale, or in other countries.