6e - Talent management

 What is talent?

This is a big question, and even the experts disagree. Earlier a high IQ or maybe exceptional sports gifts could be seen as talent. But "talent' is so much more!

There have always been especially competent skilled workers or proficient technicians. And we know that some people have a gift for interacting with others. And some handle unexpected challenges quicker than the rest of us.

Now there is a focus on talent as being many things, and on fostering talent in trades, service and industry.

But special skills, motivation, engagement or creativity in themselves are not enough. If the apprentice is to perform high above average, the people around him/her need to promote his/her gifts!

The triad model, 2005 (Mønks) is one of the models developed by researchers.
 Challenges for the apprentice
Especially talented apprentices need challenges that promote their development. Get a sense of the apprentice and find out if he/she needs
  • professional challenges
  • personal challenges
  • social challenges
A professional challenge in the restaurant trade could be preparing meat dishes early in the training.

A personal challenge could be important decision-making in the company.

A social challenge in retail could be having responsibility for other workers, such as for the trolley boy in the store.

One thing is for sure: even the biggest talent will remain invisible, if you don't give him/her the chance for self-realisation.

The apprentice has to master routine tasks, of course, and learn things from the bottom up. But the apprentice should also be given a chance to show what he/she can do.


Example Richard Thomsen A/S, Brabrand, Denmark

Hashi, 25 years, won a bronze medal for his journeyman's piece in 2004, after having been a locksmith apprentice at Richard Thomsen A/S.


"I have discovered that 'where there's a will, there's a way'. At the job interview at Richard Thomsen A/S, I promised the foreman that I would get a medal, if they hired me!

I succeeded this year – and the company is just as proud as I am!"

 Participation in competitions
Participating in competitions can encourage professional pride and give the apprentice a specific goal for his/her ambitions.

Example from the transport sector, Denmark:
At the championship, apprentices have the opportunity to demonstrate professional levels and qualifications achieved in transport training, and what future drivers and storehouse workers can do.

The participants are judged on:
  • quality
  • safety
  • ergonomics
  • time used
Apprentices manage lorries, cranes and forklift trucks in the contest for a winning place.

Participation in the championships is popular and receives wide support in the transport sector. On the basis of the Danish championships, a national apprentice team is appointed to represent Denmark at the European Championships.
 Projects during the vocational process
EuroSkills (European Skills Promotion) challenge European students and graduates in vocational educational to perform their best through competition and rewards.

At EuroSkills you can see exciting skills competitions, innovative and traditional trades and lively debates on the European future in vocational education. EuroSkills is a showcase of modern craftsmanship and related education pathways.

Find more information
 Continuous professional education
As a trainer, you can influence the apprentice's future career. Often an experienced skilled worker can see opportunities for further development:
  • Perhaps the youth is especially talented in a certain area of the trade?
  • Are there specific courses that will make him/her a specialist?
  • Would a supplemental theoretical education be relevant?
  • Is your apprentice a future entrepreneur?
Lifelong learning has become a concept. It means thinking ahead and developing your own competencies in step with the development of the profession.

6 - The apprentice's background