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What's not in the Portfolio

Jele Oppermann

Portrait Jele Oppermann

In summer 1965 I was born in a working-class family as the third child. Later, my parents allowed me to attend high school ("Gymnasium") only after the pastor and the class teacher intervened. Higher education for girls was a rather unusual idea in rural W├╝rttemberg at that time.
I was lucky to have a friend who pushed me to sit the entrance examination for the protestant seminary boarding school which I passed and received a full scholarship. The five years that led to university-entrance diploma broadened my horizon and I got involved in human rights (Amnesty International, Society for Threatened Peoples) and environmental acitivites.
After highschool exam (Latin, English, Biology, History) I had the opportunity to work in several areas (hospital, bookshop, homeopathic pharmacy, among others) and I gained an insight into philosophy and history studies. As a working mother of three girls I also had the chance to improve my self-management skills. After a two-year further education I worked as a trainer in the field of healthcare and prophylaxis, especially with young families.
In the late nineteen-nineties I had to realign, due to German health care reform, and I decided to train as certified information technology officer, and certified industrial/practical instructor (VET). This enabled me to work as an IT-trainer and instructor for newly founded APO-COACH GbR. And also the development of tailor-made information systems in different areas (e.g. youth welfare, cultural association, nature conservation) was part of my tasks.
Becoming a certified learning process coach for training in the IT sector (ISO 17024) was embedded in our collaboration on the content of the specialist profiles of the German IT-Training Ordinance. I still consider work process oriented learning to be a low-threshold and effective setting. Further training courses that I still perceive are directly connected to IT or development cooperation.
Of course, I did not reach the end of my learning career with the Master's degree in Sustainable Development Cooperation.

Mike Finsch

Portrait Mike Finsch

I was born in 1963 and live in Wendland, Lower Saxony, together with my wife. I grew up as the eldest son of a teacher couple in a small village on the edge of the Middle German Chemical Triangle. In the former GDR I first completed the 10-class polytechnic secondary school and then a vocational training in cattle breeding which included German university-entrance diploma (Abitur). I passed the Abitur at the Martin-Luther University Halle. Although originally delegated to study abroad, I was in the end not allowed to study in the USSR.
After my basic military service I studied mechanical engineering at the Technical Uni in Magdeburg until my intermediate diploma. I was inspired to do so by the use of large-scale equipment in mining, which I admired as a child when I visited my grandfather, who was a foreman of miners, in Lusatia.
Since the German reunification, I worked as an independent entrepreneur in the IT sector (network planning, installation and consulting as well as application of communication technologies). Due to this reorientation I wanted to enrol for the bachelor course in computer science at the distance university in Hagen. However, my statal Abitur certificate was not recognised as a higher education entrance qualification!
Nevertheless I obtained numerous certificates (certified learning process coach for training in the IT sector, programmer, certified industrial/practical instructor, to name a few). At the end of 2005 I completed a correspondence course at the Wilhelm B├╝chner University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt as a computer scientist in the field of "Information and Communication Management".
Even before, during and after my distance learning studies, I worked as a freelance IT trainer in adult education for various educational institutions in Northern Germany. I led one of the first retraining classes for the new IT professions in Lower Saxony. Later, I worked as a learning process facilitator and coach in the EU-funded project "APO-IT Niedersachsen" (personnel certification according to ISO 17024).
I only started development cooperation when I was in my mid-forties. As a development aid worker (DED), I supervised several IT colleges in northern Uzbekistan and conducted further teacher training in IT, including at the statal computer science university in Urgench. To this day I work as an international consultant for various clients in English and Russian-speaking regions.
Knowledge transfer was and still is important to me in all projects. New tasks and project contents lead to ever new learning challenges and this is exactly what makes the job as a consultant so special and so very interesting.