2g - Trade-specific issues

 Apprentices in the trades
Some trades have long traditions for training skilled labour. Other trades have, until very recently, used unskilled or self-taught workers.

In all trades, the demands on employees are changing continuously because of:
  • technological development 
  • new markets and customers, also internationally 
  • increased safety requirements 
  • increased international competition 
  • demands for better working conditions

Training is necessary!

Example Construction company Hans Ulrik Jensen A/S (Denmark)
The contracting company from Auning, with around 100 employees, is committed to education and training.

Project manager Erik Banner states that apprentices can help raise the level of professional skills in the company:
At Hans Ulrik Jensen A/S, each apprentice has a skilled worker as his own trainer and personal mentor. These skilled workers learn about modern vocational education, update their knowledge and consider the newest expectations of construction apprentices. In April 2007 there were 12 skilled workers trained as mentors and trainers.
 The skilled worker of the future
When you train an apprentice, you aren't just training him/her for a job in your company. You're training for a job in the trade!

The trades have a broad range of companies operating in many different regions. From small, 1-5 person companies to large international corporations. The tasks and areas of responsibility for employees vary just as much.
 Research and market trends
Your chamber of commerce has information on market trends and developments in your trade. These trends and developments might influence the supply of apprentices.

In spring 2007, there was a great demand for manpower and apprentices in many sectors.

This influences wage levels. It also influences where apprentices or potential employees seek employment. Your trade should be competitive and attractive for good workers - also in the future!

As a trainer, you guarantee good quality and a good working environment. Both of these are important for competition with other training companies!
You know your most important competitors best. And you probably follow closely how they are doing. Sometimes, however, competitors can be good collaborators. For example:┬
  • when you can share the cost of expensive machines┬
  • when you have a bottleneck and can use the competitor┬
  • when you can temporarily hire or borrow facilities, staff or other things
Remember to inform the apprentice of your relationship to competitors. He will probably meet them anyway (at conventions, on the road, in school, at supplier-financed courses, etc).
 Technology and trends
Some trades have gone through a technical revolution in the last few decades.

New materials have arrived, that make it possible to construct products in totally new ways. In the textile sector, for example, there are new "intelligent materials".

In most trades, you can't get around the importance of information technology.

And almost all workplaces have experienced an invasion of new language expressions. These can be technical terms or English expressions.

Do you know enough about trends and new technology in your trade? The apprentice might ask you about it.
  • What is the biggest "revolution" that has happened in your trade?┬
  • How do you make sure that you're keeping up with developments?┬
  • How do you involve the apprentice in the new developments that are taking place?
It might be useful or even necessary to have an apprentice follow the same training courses on new technology or developments as other employees.

Example from the gastronomy sector (Denmark)
In Denmark, there has been a drastic development the last 10-20 years.

If we leave out traditional Danish cooking, we have moved from "fine French cuisine" to diverse ethnic cuisine (Thai, Greek, Japanese, etc.) to fusion cuisine, where the best from different cuisines is combined. The latest trend is molecular gastronomy, where new 'wild' taste combinations are developed.
 Do you want to know more?
You probably already keep up with developments in your trade:
  • in trade journals 
  • at conventions 
  • through meetings in the company 
  • at supplier courses 
  • through further education 
  • through research in the trade 
  • through the trade union 
  • etc.
Have you made the apprentice aware of how to keep informed in your trade?

Does the apprentice have a list of website addresses and journals?

If your company receives journals, does the apprentice get to read them too?


2 - The workplace