Developing high quality apprentices

Background

In Germany, the social consensus ensures that all school leavers are offered vocational education and training based on the dual system which provides new learners with a wide range of employability skills. As part of the partnership between the state and the private sector, Linhardt GmbH & Co. KG - a packaging manufacturer with headquarters in Bavaria - regularly trains young people. In 2010, 22 trainees successfully completed their initial vocational training in one of the following three sectors: tools manufacturing/ servicing; production; or administration/ management. These trainees were the first to graduate from Linhardt’s own programme called “ABC – towards the training championship". Linhardt’s commitment to training received the "VET quality label" of the German IVET Trainer Academy (DBA-Cert) in summer 2010.

 

Linhardt draws up its in-company training plan for trainees, which corresponds to the training regulations set by the autonomous industrial body (the Chamber). This sets out the practicalities of training as all enterprises that operate the dual system enter into a contract with trainees in which they undertake to provide them with the required professional competences for the relevant training occupation. The suitability of training enterprises and in-company training personnel is monitored by the Chambers. Linhardt offers apprenticeship training in the following sectors and occupations:

 

Sector

Occupations

Tools manufacturing/ servicing

Tools mechanic, milling machine operator, industrial mechanic, electronics technician

Production

Machine and plant operator, printer

Administration/ management

Industrial clerk, European business clerk, IT specialist, technical product designer, media designer

 

The management of Linhardt began this initiative because they wanted to develop the company and safeguard its future. The management wanted to be prepared for increasing demands that would face the organisation and the need for them to respond to an ageing population. In addition, the management team was keen to develop trainees according to the values and expectations of the company. This included the need to improve trainees’ integration within the company and strengthen their teamwork in order to help them become and feel part of the business. Linhardt believes that through more intensive support, trainees can become better prepared for their working life following the completion of their training.

To support their training approach Linhardt defined their own training standards, reorganised their training structures, modernised the processes and content of training and strengthened their planning for learning. Consequently the company now has a standard set of arrangements in all its locations and in all its training departments. Linhardt has its own training guide which trainers as well as trainees can use.

 

The evaluation has shown that communications between trainers and trainees, and exchanges between staff located at different sites have really improved. By reviewing the training arrangements and optimising the approaches, there has been a considerable reduction in the workload of the trainers. The standardised approach is proving to be very important to Linhardt as the company regularly provides training in ten to twelve occupations and its trainees make up 8 – 10 per cent of its employees. Linhardt considers it a huge advantage when the same standards and structures are applied in all training departments and locations. They intend to continue to set an example and be a flagship in the region in terms of training.

 

What were the challenges?

Is was and sometimes still is difficult to convince every colleague of the necessity of the initiative. In addition, the practical implementation of a company-wide scheme across many occupations is an ongoing and demanding process.
 

What are the benefits?

The acceptation of the training approach and the use of a standard process for all trainees in all departments and at all locations have been positively received. These have, for example, helped trainees to participate in exchanges within the group of companies and enrol in other internal training programmes. In general, trainees have increased their independence and now take more responsibility for their tasks and projects. This has been possible because trainees participate and assume responsibility in group-wide and cross-departmental projects.

From the trainers’ point of view, training has become the topic of more extensive discussion than before. The perceived value of the training has increased and it is seen in a more positive light. A new organisational structure has been developed, visible to everybody, and responsibilities have been redefined. The tasks of the trainer have also changed: there is now less of the typical instructing and training and more assisting in the learning process and organising the training.

Colleagues were officially appointed and promoted as training officers, which makes them feel more appreciated. Training is no longer the exclusive responsibility of the official trainer; rather, the responsibility is now shared among many people – the colleagues and the training officers.

Linhardt recognises that the process is not finished just because they have received certification. The management team knows there is an ongoing incentive to continually improve the quality of training by adapting to the constantly changing conditions in the business and to the wider changes in vocational content.

 

Indicators

Linhardt´s measures meet the following indicators:

 

  • Indicator 1: Relevance of quality assurance systems for VET providers

Linhardt has developed and implemented its own system of quality assurance which is tailored to their particular needs.

  • Indicator 2: Investment in training of teachers and trainers

Trainers are encouraged to attend both internal and external continuing education courses which meet the company’s quality initiative.

  • Indicator 5: Placement rate in VET programmes.

Linhardt compiles statistics of the grade point average of each trainee, the share of trainees hired after completing their initial training, and the share of learners who are employed in the company or elsewhere.

  • Indicator 6: Utilisation of acquired skills in the workplace

After three months and one year, each department manager of the former trainees is interviewed to assess the trainees’ knowledge and their job-related competences.

© European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This Website reflects only the views of EQAVET and the Commission cannot be help responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Designed and developed by Arekibo