On 19 March 2021, the Policy Learning Platform hosted a webinar on the topic of workplace training and successful initiatives. 

The second session of the three-part webinar-miniseries featured two successful graduate work placement programmes. Both programmes, Trainee Sør (Norway) and InterTradeIreland FUSION Programme (Northern-Ireland & Ireland), have been ongoing for nearly 20 years, last up to 18 months per participant, and have yielded clear benefits for all parties involved, with high talent attraction and retention rates. 

Watch the video below to learn how regions, SMEs and young graduates have benefited from them.

Webinar recording

Webinar agenda overview 

Moderation and concept by: Mart Veliste and Luc Schmerber, Thematic Experts of SME Competitiveness.

Navigate to the discussion topics of interest in the webinar agenda overview below.

00:00:05 Introduction to the Policy Learning Platform services and topic by Mart Veliste.

00:04:21 Presentation by Isabelle-Louise Aabel, EU Adviser at GCE Node, Norway

00:16:35 Q&A As an alumna of Trainee Sør , what would you say this trainee programme gave you as a young person a few years ago?

00:18:10 Q&A These practices have an added value in terms of retaining talent in the region. You were thinking of moving to Brussels, but you stayed in Norway. Is it due to the programme?

00:19:21 Q&A Did you also benefit from Trainee Sør's network? Is it something you experienced?

00:20:37 Q&A The unique feature of the programme is that you rotate the trainees in three different companies for six months. Would you say it is a strength of the programme? What are the benefits of this rotation?

00:22:30 Presentation by Janet Toal, Acting Innovation Manager at InterTradeIreland

00:37:06 Q&A What is the key success that has made the FUSION programme run for so long with such high results?

00:39:17 Q&A Is the FUSION programme limited to specific sectors? Would creative (for example crafts) SMEs be eligible?

00:40:14 Q&A Do you think this cross-border collaboration between Ireland and Northern-Ireland is rather a hindrance for the parties involved or a benefit? 

Key learnings

  • The trainee programmes also allow the opportunity to create an alumni network of young professionals. Additional intangible benefits for regions are made this way.   
  • Programmes such as Trainee Sør and FUSION broaden the career horizons of young talents. As is the case with the Trainee Sør programme, rotating students in various companies is highly recommended as it provides a rich learning experience of various company cultures, leadership styles, and roles to the young talent. This then enables them to make a more informed decision about their future career path.
  • The key to success with such programmes is the people involved. It is essential to match the right academic partners with the right companies so that they would understand each other and have a good fit. Trust and real commitment need to be built between the various stakeholders. 
  • As the FUSION programme illustrates, such work placement programmes can also be run cross-border. The cross-border nature enables to create more extensive innovation networks between the stakeholders. You can potentially match SMEs with academic institutions that they could not otherwise reach. 

Other workplace training recordings

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash