It’s obvious that the constraints within the labor market are growing tighter. Due to the aging population, but also because young people often do not choose to move into technical fields. It's difficult to fill a great number of positions, in both the short and the long term, at all levels – and of course, we are fishing in the same pond as other companies in our region. Together with Goflex, we are going to train technicians ourselves.
Sitech as a recognized practical training company
Joëll Stassen, Maintenance Manager: “At the end of last year, it was reconfirmed that Sitech will be entitled to make use of the designation ‘recognized practical training company’ for students who opt to combine studying and working in a practically focused vocational training course (Beroepsbegeleidende Leerweg, or BBL). In order to be able to train such students on the job, a company has to fulfill certain requirements. The work the company performs and the training associates it has available must conform to the standards of the course.” Floortje, HR Business Partner Sitech Services: “Our practical training associates undergo retraining every year to ensure that the standard is upheld.”
Training technical specialists ourselves
The strategic plan stipulates that we take on ten BBL students per year, at various stages of their learning pathways. For this, we work with Goflex, who take care of the recruitment and selection processes and deliver the theoretical part of the training, among other things. “This year, we began with three BBL students and our plan is to increase that number over the coming years,” says Joëll. “We give them the opportunity to gain experience in three different plants, so that later on, they can be deployed in a range of different positions. You can think of it as the modern version of a company training center.”
Challenging study/work pathway at AFA
One of the BBL students who started with us at the end of 2019 via Goflex is Mathijs van de Berg. “I studied a VMBO, an intermediate preparatory vocational course, in care,” he explains. “I was certainly interested in engineering, but it wasn’t well catered for by the course. My father put me in touch with Goflex, where I attended a 10-week boot camp and picked up the basics of engineering. After that I started work as an E/I technician in the ammonia plants, where I work 4.5 days a week, while also attending school in the evenings and on one afternoon. While working, I receive excellent guidance from my colleagues, and I have regular assessment interviews with my coach from Goflex. What appeals to me about this work is the challenge: every day at the plant is different and you really have to keep your wits about you.”
New ‘technician plus’ training
They also have contact with other training institutions in the field, such as Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Vista College. Joëll continues: “We are looking into whether technicians would be able to give guest lessons there. We’re also conducting discussions with those schools about putting together a new ‘social degree’ program to fit in between the intermediate (MBO) and higher (HBO) vocational training courses. These would specifically be aimed at technicians who want to think a little more deeply about the way in which we approach technical problems."