2a - Description of the workplace

  
 Company profile, history and ownership
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Starting as an apprentice in a company can be overwhelming. The apprentice needs general knowledge of the company he/she has started in.

You may already have a presentation of your company in the form of a brochure, website or power point presentation.

Give the apprentice a quick overview of:

  • What is your company known for?
  • How was the company founded and by whom?
  • How has the company developed over the years?
  • Who owns the company now and in which legal form?

A company presentation gives the apprentice a quick overview of the company. Digital presentations are becoming more and more common. You can also print it and put it in the introduction folder.

If you don't already have a presentation, you could use the Trainer Guide's template as a starting point, adjusting it to meet your needs. The template contains items normally found in a company presentation.

Click here or on the picture at right to download a template for a company presentation.

  
 Company organisation and staff
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Organisation

If your workplace is not that small, you may have an organisational diagram of your company.

Or you may have an outline of how your departments are organised and how production takes place.

Show the apprentice how the company is organised.

Example of a department structure.
The chart to the right shows an example of how the structure of a department could look. The trainer can use a chart like this to explain to the apprentice the positions of specific people and the relation between the different functions within the department.

Staff

Often you hear that "the company's greatest assets are the employees".

The apprentice needs to know who his/her colleagues are and who is responsible for what:

  • Number of employees?
  • How long have they been in the company?
  • Who does what?
  • Who is the apprentice's contact person?
  
 Organisation of the work
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An effective workday needs effectual teamwork. In some departments, employees work very closely with each other. Here the employees depend on good communication, respect and understanding of each other's working areas. 

Good teamwork doesn't only benefit the customer, but it also makes daily work more fun for the employee and apprentice! He will enjoy the job, as well as the company, more.

Prepare the apprentice by telling:

Who works closely together in the company?
How is the information flow?
How can the apprentice contribute to optimal cooperation across departments?
How is the command chain in this workplace?

Examples
There is close cooperation between sales and internal sales support, between drivers / warehouse and planners, between chefs/cooks and waiters, - What is this like in your company? - !
  
 Health and Safety
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In the workplace, there are several aspects that may influence the health and safety of the employees. Make sure you inform the apprentice on the issues that apply to your company. In general, employers are responsible for the creation of a safe and healthy working climate and environment.

Employers and employees are both responsible for improving the working climate and environment.

Issues are e.g.:

  • Some working environments are safer then others but in every environment you have risks, e.g. working on ladders, working with a forklift truck. Be aware of the risks in your company and share them with your apprentice.
  • For an apprentice, there may be a limit for working hours, and working in shifts may not be allowed in your country and your trade. Make sure you know the situation for your country.
  • Working with dangerous goods (e.g. flammable, explosive, electrical and toxic goods) should be done under protective circumstances and with the necessary precautions. Is an apprentice in your country allowed to work with all goods processed and produced in your company?
  • Great physical stress can influence health. Heavy lifting, long periods of standing, but also vibrations or radiation can make employees ill.
  • Too much mental stress makes people crazy. Make sure that the apprentice doesn’t have too much stress, and guide the apprentice in organising tasks and handling stressful situations.
  • Aggression, which means verbal or physical attacks. Especially service staff in uniform are sometimes subject to aggression. Sometimes customers and patients can react aggressively when they disagree with something.

The above mentioned aspects are only examples. Be aware of the things apprentices (considering their age) are not allowed to do, according to laws in your country. Carefully consider all aspects that might influence health and safety in your company and, if available, consult a colleague from the HR-department or someone responsible for health and safety at your company.

In Module 8, the subject of safety and working environment is discussed more extensively. Please also have a look at module 8.

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2 - The workplace

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