On 26 March 2021, the Policy Learning Platform hosted its last mini webinar on the topic bringing skills to companies.

This session highlighted two very interesting traineeship programmes for young people.

The Export Development Program (the Netherlands), aimed at last year undergraduate students, is a great example on how practices like this bring necessary skills to SMEs, how SMEs can be internationalised via the help of students and how these programmes enable regions to retain young talent.

The Traineeship Programme (Hungary) is focused on young people between the ages of 16-24 and puts an extra emphasis on NEET-youth. The aim of the traineeship programme is to encourage companies to create traineeship places to enable young people to gain real work experience, through which their employability and long-term labour market opportunities may be improved.

Watch the video below to learn how regions, SMEs and young people benefit from such traineeship programmes. 

Webinar recording 

Webinar agenda and overview

Moderation and concept by: Mart Veliste and René Tönnisson, Thematic Experts of SME Competitiveness.

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

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

00:02:51 Introduction to the Export Development Program by Jacques van Steenbergen from the province of Overijssel.

00:05:23 Presentation by Dr. Louise van Weerden, from the Saxon University of Applied Sciences on the Export Development Program and its benefits for SMEs, students and regions.

00:15:38 Q&A What are the benefits of the Export Development Programme for you Jacques; as a regional representative?

00:17:39 Q&A Who pays for what? What is the financial structure? How much does the government contributes? Do the companies and trainees have to contribute financially?

00:19:56 Q&A How many trainees do you have on average per year?

00:21:05 Q&A Are the coaches paid?

00:21:45 Presentation by Anita Nagy from Győr Center of Vocational Training on supporting SMEs through a traineeship programme

00:32:01 Q&A In terms of engaging and enrolling those young people in your program, how did you manage? It might be difficult to onboard young people in these programmes. What would be your recommendations to other regions? 

00:33:54 Q&A How are the companies selected for the programme that take the trainees? 

Panel discussion

00:35:34 Q&A What do you think is the most important thing that a region or a higher education institution need to consider when it wants to replicate the Export Development Program? What is the lesson that they should take with them? 

00:37:41 Q&A What would be the key message you would tell other regions that want to replicate your (Anita's) traineeship program? 

00:40:08 Q&A Is the mentoring provided to the companies only, or to the students as well or to both? 

Key learnings

  • The success of the Export Development Programme can be attributed to effort put into personally matching student trainees with SMEs. People are chosen by the skills, personality, and right assignments. Quality over quantity is important. If you focus on quality, then that is also reflected in the high retention in the region and in the companies.
  • The chance to put theory into practice is one of the main motivators for students to take part in programmes aimed at university students.
  • Any traineeship practice transferred to another region needs to be suitable for the new environment – the differences in business culture’s needs to be considered. Do not just replicate, but rather learn from the way of thinking behind the practices elsewhere.
  • Financial support to companies helps to attain commitment from SMEs for traineeship programmes. But financial support should be offered together with soft support such as mentoring or matching to ensure a smooth process.  

 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash