7a - External relations

 Whom do we cooperate with?
Example Denmark
Danish employees are seen as cooperative and strong in creating relationships. They have an informal tone, and generally there are “open doors” in companies. Foreign visitors may be surprised that the new apprentice is welcome to present proposals to the director, which is quite normal. 

Every man and every woman is seen as a human resource, and thus as a partner for cooperation. Cooperation takes place between colleagues, but also with customers, suppliers and with partners from other organisations.

Today customers are not only purchasers who prefer our products and services. Customers are also more and more involved in the process of developing products and services. In this case, the relationship moves closer to being a partnership.

Companies do surveys or interviews, where customers can express opinions or make suggestions. 
Important customers often get "individually designed" solutions and typically play a role in developing them.

Your apprentice will probably also at some time be involved in receiving customer criticism and suggestions.

How does an apprentice cooperate with your customers? Is he or she allowed to cooperate with customers? If yes, up to which level? Dealing with customers is a great learning opportunity!

In some trades, suppliers are seen as regular partners. This is the case in the automobile sector, for example, where importers play an important role.

Or your company itself may be a supplying partner to one or more of your important customers.
  • How do you cooperate with your supplier(s)?
  • Do you have stabile contacts?
  • Will the apprentice be involved in this cooperation?
  • If yes, how?
 Other partners
Other partners can also be a part of the company's external relations. You probably have a network of organisations and persons who help each other out. This may concern your production process, as well as your training process.

This could be, for example, your education manager working closely with trade committees, partner enterprises, or training institutions/providers, for example.

Maybe local sports clubs or charity organisations contact you, when they need help.

A close network between business and organisations benefits the local community. It gives a general boost, also to the company's employees.
  • Is cooperation with organisations part of your company strategy?
  • Can the apprentice be a part of this?
 Partnership agreements with vocational colleges

At several vocational colleges, "partnership agreements" have been made, to achieve more cooperation between school and company. The apprentice and the trainer both play a major role in this.

You can use the apprentice's education plan as a starting point.

Example vocational colleges
Århus Technical College, Denmark

This school has successfully used partnership agreements since Spring 2007 in their carpenter training programme. The agreement with Vitus Bering includes an agenda for regular consultations between the apprentice, company and school's contact (for example, the contact teacher).

 Click here to download the partnershipdocument


7 - Cooperation