Link Education Ethiopia transforms lives through education. By partnering with local school communities, they provide vital infrastructure, resources and training to give a voice for the disadvantaged. Link Education works directly with teachers and schools to build support for the changes necessary to improve the quality of education for the communities they work with, in addition to working on fostering mutual understanding and cultural awareness.
Nicolo Di Marzo was placed by Oxford HR as Link Education’s Ethiopia Country Representative. He was particularly interested in working in Ethiopia as he knew the region well from his work in Sudan and had visited recently. Given the political changes and reforms occurring in Ethiopia, combined with his background in education, he felt it was the perfect fit.
Nico was impressed with the Oxford HR process, in particular noting the clarity of the candidate pack, and the fact that he had the chance to speak with the consultant, Martine, about the role package and salary. He also mentions the attention to detail; he was given advice on how to best edit his CV and covering statement to highlight his relevant experience and tailor it to Link Education. Martine and Nico spoke on Skype several times before his interview on how best to present his experience in education and what to focus on when speaking to Link Education. He found this support extremely beneficial, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. He says ‘Martine was very supportive in this sense,’ and wholeheartedly recommends Oxford HR.
It was his first experience of working with an executive search company and says he can clearly see the benefit from both the client and candidate side. He likens it to ‘not just looking for a job, but an experience about refining your skills, and thinking about the way you want to present yourself.’ Fiona Greig, CEO at Link Education, was also impressed with Oxford HR, noting ‘We felt there was a really good understanding of what was needed. We felt that we were being well attended to and that the process was very thorough. Given the fact that most of the staff come from the sector, I think that that’s an enormous strength.’
Despite the final interviews taking place over a video call, Nico still felt well prepared and enjoyed the panel interview. ‘I was in a kind of isolation mood because of Covid, so I also didn’t have many people to interact with, so it was nice to have somebody who could give you this feedback, particularly in that situation when you’re all alone in your house.’
Due to the pandemic, Nico was onboarded and started working virtually. He describes this as difficult, but quickly began to see the positives of the teams working from home, especially as it dissolved any differences between, for example, country and programme offices. He also got to know his colleagues in Scotland more than he would have had he moved to Ethiopia straight away, and took part in discussions regarding Link Education’s strategic plans.
Looking forward, Nico sees safeguarding as a pressing issue facing the education sector. He feels that organisations need to be stronger on the protective aspect of education and give children the structures to protect themselves from harm. He’s also very self aware and keen to challenge and change some of the inequalities within the wider development sector, by considering questions of power imbalances, gender equity and encouraging mutual cross-cultural learning.
‘It’s about collaborating together, and finding a solution.’