CERN's Buddy programme

If you are reading these lines, it is probably because you are interested in relocating abroad to work for an international organisation such as CERN. While it often represents a strategic and exciting move in a career, changing country for a new job is always a challenging project from professional and personal perspectives. Indeed, in addition to changing working environments, one has to adapt to a whole new culture in day to day life: a very enriching experience, whatever the challenges one may encounter along the way.

Most global employers have dedicated services to support expatriates to join their organisation. In addition to the usual associated benefits package, the help provided to facilitate integration in the local area can include housing services, language courses, or even spouse employment. This is the case at CERN, where supporting relocation for new recruits coming from our 22 members states has always been important. Most of the information and help we provide to newcomers is already covered in our Newcomers Guide and on our HR site, so for this blog post I wanted to focus on another initiative we implemented recently: the Buddy programme.

CERN decided to introduce this programme as an additional layer of support and guidance for new fellows and TTEs, who are initially joining the organisation for a one to two year period. The idea is to help newcomers start to build a network through their peers and have a contact point they can refer to for their basic questions. On a voluntary basis, a new fellow is matched with a fellow who has been at CERN for 6 months or longer, according to certain criteria such as the language spoken, professional field of expertise, gender and shared interests.

In that sense, the Buddy programme is not a mentoring scheme, which would imply that individuals are supported in their all-round development both personally and professionally. Nor it is replacing a formal induction period where the newcomer will assimilate many different things to become familiar with the environment and be fully operational in his or her new assignment. Ultimately, CERN’s Buddy programme offers a more personal and less formal support structure to make as successful a start in a new job in a new country as possible, giving access to top tips from peers who have faced the same situation themselves.

There are plenty of other resources to help you take up a job at CERN and relocate to the Geneva region, from learning languages via the Tandem Programme, to following technical trainings to develop your skills in a certain domain, and our HR team will do its best to support you through this challenging time. So don’t hesitate and Take Part!