“Working in an international environment makes me a better person as well as a more accomplished professional”
Our alumni pursue interesting careers. That of Jeremy Francis is distinctly international in character. He is an HR Policy and Employee Relations Officer at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Having studied in Leiden, Geneva, and Vienna, Jeremy enrolled at Tilburg University for the Master’s program in Labour Law and Employment Relations and later on in the Master’s program International & European Law (track International Law and Global Governance). He subsequently returned to Vienna, where he is currently writing his Master’s thesis for the LL.M Labour Law and Employment Relations as well as working full-time at the OSCE.
“I was fourteen years old when my mother and I I moved from Trinidad and Tobago to the Netherlands. She was working for an international organization and I attended the international school in Arnhem. After having studied Medicine for a year, I switched to the Bachelor's program in Psychology and International Human Rights at Webster University in Leiden. Then I pursued a Master’s program in Human Resources Management at Webster University in Leiden, Geneva, and Vienna. I wanted to broaden my horizon, so I opted to travel with my studies.”
My second master's at Tilburg University enabled me to specialize in human rights, social policy and international labor law. I combined new and old knowledge and thus increased my employability in a very focused way.
Jeremy Francis (right)
Public and Private
During his studies, Jeremy did an internship at TomTom in Amsterdam and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. “Conscious decisions: I wanted to try out working in both the public and the private sectors.” Shortly afterwards, Jeremy started working as an HR specialist at Booking.com, but the public sector and further study continued to appeal to him. “I found the Master’s program of Labour Law and Employment Relations at Tilburg University. I was looking for a program to combine my interests in human rights and the labour market.” After his first Master at Tilburg University, he continued with a second one: International & European Law. “It enabled me to specialize in human rights, social policy, and international labour law. I combined new and old knowledge and thus increased my employability in a very focused way.”
Love of Tilburg
Jeremy cherishes his time at Tilburg University, especially learning from the professors who taught in his programs. “Nikolas Rajkovic, my professor from the LL.M of International & European Law, and Bas Rombouts, Sonja Bekker, and Mijke Houwerzijl from the LL.M Labour Law and Employment Relations were crucial to my professional development. They inspired me with their knowledge and views. In addition, there were visits to the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the European Commission that further fueled my enthusiasm for my studies and possible career opportunities." Also in a social sense, Tilburg was a good choice. “I made life-long friends there.”
Combining a Master’s degree and a full-time job
Jeremy is currently writing his Master’s thesis as well as working full-time at the OSCE in Vienna. He himself regards it as a doable challenge. Work hard and persevere, that’s his motto. “I have good online contact with my supervisor and that works just fine. And my supervisor at work is very supportive, fortunately.”
She took the courageous decision to continue her career abroad. I am so grateful to her for the opportunities that came my way as a result of her work and sacrifices.
Every generation should be better than the one before. Lifelong learning is important and build further on the ideas of the generations who went before us.
Find out how you can make your curriculum work for you. Choose courses aimed to obtain new knowledge and skills. That will increase your value as a worker and improve your employability.
Civilian mission through OSCE
During his time at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Jeremy acquainted himself with the work of the OSCE and with the civilian mission pool. The Netherlands supports reconstruction processes in (former) conflict areas like Mali and Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributes to this by sending Dutch civilian experts abroad, often as part of peace-keeping missions, to work for international organizations. The civilian mission pool is organized by the European Commission, the United Nations, NATO, and OSCE.
Part of the recruitment procedure was a group dynamics assessment consisting of tough mental and physical challenges to test how someone performs under great pressure. This is done to prepare people for a possible mission. “For instance I had to swim in handcuffs and find my way blindfolded,” he reminisces.
It is enriching to work abroad, with people from other backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. To find common ground.
Mission to (former) conflict area
At the moment, Jeremy is working at the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, but it is certainly conceivable that he could one day be part of a mission to a (former) conflict area. “I’m interested because of my passion for human rights and social justice, and the expertise I can offer in the field of labour law and HR in these missions.”
His motivation to work for the OSCE is clear. “I really wanted to work here because of the international character of the working environment. I like the dynamics that come with it and, in my position, I combine my knowledge of human rights, labour law, and HR. It is also enriching to work abroad, with people from other backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. It is a challenge to look beyond your own ideas to find common ground. Why does something work in one country or situation but not in another? Such questions and the input they provide pique my curiosity and make me a better person, as well as a more accomplished professional.”
2017 – present | LL.M Labour Law & Employment Relations, Tilburg University (NL)
2018- 2020 | LL.M International & European Law, Tilburg University (NL)
2013 | Master of Arts in Human Resource Management, Webster University (Leiden, Vienna, & Geneva)
2012 | Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Webster University Leiden (NL)
2012 | Undergraduate Certificate in International Human Rights, Webster University Leiden
05.2022 – present | HR Policy and Employee Relations Officer, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Vienna
12.2021 – 05.2022 | Acting Chief, HR Policy and Employee Relations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Vienna
09.2021 – 12.2021 | HR Policy and Employee Relations Officer, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Vienna
11.2020 – 03.2021 | Policy Consultant (HR Policy and Employee Relations Unit), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Vienna
01.2020 – 11.2020 | Policy Intern (HR Governance Legal Team), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Den Haag
06.2017 – 09.2017 | HR Project Specialist, Booking.com International B.V. HQ, Amsterdam
03.2016 – 06.2017 | HR Specialist (HQ Team), Booking.com International B.V. HQ, Amsterdam
08.2015 – 02.2016 | Human Resource Intern (HR Operations), International Criminal Court, Den Haag
02.2015 – 08.2015 | Technical Talent Acquisition Intern, TomTom International B.V. HQ, Amsterdam
Born in San Fernando (Trinidad and Tobago), Jeremy and his mother moved to the Netherlands when he was fourteen years old. In Arnhem, he attended the international school, which gave him an appetite for all things international: his subsequent studies in higher education all have an international orientation. He is currently living and working in Vienna (Austria) and completing his Master’s thesis. In his free time, he likes to run, travel, and play soccer.
Where have your studies in Tilburg taken you?
Tilburg University closely monitors the quality of its degree programs, both in terms of their academic standard and regarding their alignment with the job market. That is why we keep track of our alumni’s careers, and as a graduate you can be of real help to new generations of students by telling us about your career.
Date of publication: 14 November 2023