Starting as Young Potential in a job in IT management

Just graduated, bursting with ambition and looking for a job with impact, responsibility and opportunities. That is how Yunes and Gregory came to join Colruyt Group IT as 'Young Potentials'. They were in fact the first ones to enter the IT management traineeship. A trainee today, manager tomorrow?

Yunes: "Peter Vanbellingen's guest lecture at the University of Antwerp had really caught my attention."

Yunes, Gregory, how did you come to join the Colruyt Group IT management traineeship?

Yunes: "Greg and I have actually been friends since secondary school. We were also in the same class at university, where we both studied business engineering in business informatics. The combination of economics, management and IT appealed to us both, and it leaves many options open."

"Colruyt Group was a blind spot for me, at least in terms of IT. The guest lecture by IT director Peter Vanbellingen made me realise how large this retailer’s IT department is: 2,000 employees, in Belgium and India. The different brands, the projects, but also the values of the company appealed to me. ‘Sustainability in entrepreneurship'. When Peter spoke those words, I thought: ‘Yes, this is a different way of doing things!’”

Gregory: "Yunes and I both applied for a job at Colruyt Group IT when we were still studying. We got the opportunity to start as the first Young Potentials in IT Management: a traineeship of two years. Based on our input, the traineeship in IT management was further refined for the new group that started on 1 September 2022."

What do you learn during the IT management traineeship?

Gregory: "After an introduction to the company's IT organisation and architecture, a host of training courses followed. From technical training courses to sharpening personal leadership, communication skills, change management ... It's all hugely fascinating! After that, we actually started working hands-on right away."

What projects are you working on now as a trainee IT manager?

Yunes: "I started working in the department which in fact supports the entire IT department, to make sure that all employees can perform in the best possible circumstances and projects can be delivered. I have a front-row seat in meetings where strategic decisions are made to get the best out of our organisation, now and in the longer term. I see how roadmaps are made, how change management is done ... At school you learn the theory, but now I see how it is done in practice in a large organisation with 33,000 employees. I couldn't have wished for a better school.”

Gregory: "As trainees, we learn mainly by doing, doing, doing."
Yunes, Young Potential IT management
"As Young Potential, a lot is expected of you. Bring it on: the more, the better!"

Yunes: "In addition, after six months I also became project manager of a project related to IT governance: the collection of processes and guidelines about the use of all kinds of IT technologies, tools and applications within the company. A lot is expected of us, but that doesn't put me off. Bring it on: the more, the better!"

What about you, Gregory, are you also such an eager beaver?

Gregory: "Me too, I am currently combining two roles. As an information steward – the position in which I started – I was already giving presentations to the management about the importance of information, data and reporting early on. It allowed me to immediately position myself at a high level as the person to ask all your questions about information. One week later, IT director Peter Vanbellingen was already at my door with a first assignment! At the same time, I am also working for the 'Mergers & Acquisitions' department. Colruyt Group invests a lot in other companies. Just think of gym chain JIMS, fashion chain ZEB, the online pharmacy Newpharma... My colleague and I audit the entire IT environment of these companies, estimate the risks and make recommendations based on our analysis."

Gregory: "After a short training course, I was giving a presentation at the IT management's desk early on."
Young Potential IT trainees at Colruyt Group

For a starter, you seem to be getting a lot of responsibility?

Yunes: “That’s true, indeed. We were immediately given a lot of responsibility and trust, also on a strategic and tactical level. You really have an impact on the IT organisation. The pressure to perform appeals to me: I get energy from proving myself. Of course, my colleagues are all very helpful and approachable, they help where necessary."

What are your ambitions for further growth after the IT management traineeship?

Gregory: "Colruyt Group IT really gives you the chance to seize opportunities according to your talents and interests and to map out your own path. You get a lot of say in which projects or tasks you want to take on. And job rotation is also encouraged. In the short term, I think it is important to learn as much as I can and to develop myself further. Internal and external training helps me to continue sharpening my skills. In the longer term, I would perhaps like to become a project manager, then a team manager, and then move up.”

Gregory, Young Potential IT Management
"You can really seize opportunities here and map out your own path."

What message can you give to the new batch of Young Potentials who have just started in the traineeship?

Yunes: "Coming in as a starter in such a large company can be overwhelming at first. Give yourself time to gradually process all the new information. Do not be afraid to ask questions. And finally, even if not everything goes according to the original plan, you will find a solution. That's what I've learned here: finding the road to Rome. Good luck, and enjoy it!”