Area 1 – Governance
Sector: Agriculture, seed and plant production
SUPERIOR has developed an apprenticeship program to help young graduates gain knowledge in the field of agriculture, economics, and biology. The program started five years ago, and every year we select 3 to 5 participants who will be trained to become excellent managers in their field of work. In the first years, we gathered applications only from those students who are studying agriculture, but we realised that their lack of knowledge related to sales, product placement, and seed development. For that reason, we decided to broaden the criteria to include students of economics and biology. In that way we managed to further develop our apprenticeship program which now consists of three stages:
Stage I – Students are split into groups according to their academic background (agriculture, economics or biology) and are assigned with basic tasks related to planting, picking, harvesting etc. This stage is very physically exhausting and requires stamina and mental stability, more than some special knowledge. The idea, in general, is making the opportunity to get hands dirty, which is an in most cases the indicator of students' devotion to this particular field of work. Unfortunately, many of them quit during this stage.
Stage II – Students are working closely with mentors in four different parts of the production. This stage aims to prepare them for a managerial position.
Stage III – In the final stage students become managers for a day. They have a task to coordinate a group of five workers, and to make sure they all have assignments for the entire 8-hour shift.
After the entire process finishes, we offer an opportunity of becoming an employee in SUPERIOR for one student who showed the best results during the apprenticeship.
Area 2 – Recruitment & job transition
Most of HORIZON JARDIN’s apprentices have been recruited by the company following their training. The company does its best to keep the apprentices once their basic training is done. In the case the apprentice cannot be hired, he or she is supported by the company to find a new job or a training (e.g. by putting him/her in touch with other companies in need of recruitment, by writing him/her a recommendation letter). The company makes everything to unlock the apprentice’s situation and helps him/her to proceed if they are worth it.
This approach, that prioritises the recruitment of former apprentices, allows HORIZON JARDIN to invest in human capital and obtain a return on investment. Indeed, the company estimates that at the beginning of the training, the productivity of an apprentice equals 30% of a classic employee’s one. This rate is increasing all along the training to reach by the end of the contract 80% to 100%.
Area 3 – Quality of training
Sector: gastronomy, service, hotels, accommodation
The apprentices in Chateau Mcely have a great opportunity to learn all the skills from the basic ones up to the difficult attendance of guests during lunch and dinner. We are trying to educate the apprentices in the ethical sphere too. Our young people have an overview and knowledge of the basic ethical conduct. Therefore, the first days of practice are focused on the ethical conduct, approach to a client and care for a client. We want our apprentices to pass the entire group of activities, which our qualified employee should know and manage.
If an apprentice proves to be competent, a long-term cooperation is offered to him/her. That is how we prepare our future qualified employees who know the environment and clients of Chateau Mcely well.
We select our apprentices from schools we have been cooperating with for a long time. The practices in our hotel are very difficult therefore the selection of apprentices is very important. We prefer mainly those who are interested in their study field and want to improve themselves.
We offer a basic benefits package, various trainings, and an opportunity to take part in the best apprentice competition. A mentor is available to our employees and apprentices, solving also labour relations. Working with apprentices is very demanding, but the results are often very pleasing and enriching through supporting young people as well as gaining new qualified manpower.
Area 4 – Quality of learning
The use of apprenticeship contract in SCS is fully integrated with the HR strategy.
Apprentices are employed by the company in order to get a senior consultant role at the end of the three-year contract. The apprentices receive almost 40/60h of training per year and are fully involved in a project work, training on the job and company workshops on specific subjects.
The development plan of competencies consists of two parts, one is a top-down training program focused on apprentices, and the other part is related to the performance evaluation process.
Every person receives a formalised feedback on the specific project contribution given and in the areas of strength and development considering SCS competency model.
Based on the dialogue of the feedback and evaluation every person is given an access to a specific training or exposure to projects/contents relevant to develop the competency gaps.
At least 90% of the apprentices are confirmed with a long-term contract. The high level of conversion has generated a positive climate internally. The employees are motivated and confident that the company invests in competence development and that employees can benefit from training opportunities in order to develop their career and hold a superior position in a few years. The circular feedback process is an opportunity to improve training programs to better customise the offer towards the needs expressed.
The evaluation of training programs is very satisfying, at the moment on a scale from 1 to 5, the training satisfaction is 4.5. The positive experience of employees during the first years in the company creates a climate of trust on future development and training opportunities.
Area 5 – Labour conditions
Sector: Energy solutions
We have apprentices in many fields – engineers, people in the office drawing up plans, law department etc. Apprentices always have a specific thing to do, and we always pay them to be fair. We give a tour and an overview of the company before settling an apprentice to a line of job.
Most of our project managers have once started as apprentices. We started to co-operate with an industrial school to consult with schooling workers. We also let university students come and inspect our work, and we used to give lectures in Tallinn Technical University as well. It has been important to find a partner with whom to develop the field. As a result, we are known and appreciated employer.