Future industry professionals train at Herøya factories
APPRENTICE ISLAND: Each year, more than 50 young people bearing certificates of completed apprenticeship flood out of the industrial companies at Herøya.
Bilfinger’s 16 new apprentices have recently embarked on some exciting training. Bilfinger offers apprenticeships in ten different fields, and for the first time they have accepted apprentices in carpentry, the concrete trade and insulation fitting.
Bilfinger, Yara, RHI Normag, Ineos, Addcon, Statoil and Eramet train more than half the apprentices in Telemark, helping them to become the next generation of industrial professionals. The region’s most attractive ‘apprentice factories’ at sited at Herøya and the industrial areas around the fjord.
This year, 54 apprentices “crossed the hurdle” and won apprenticeships at Herøya factories. The companies accepted more apprentices than ever before.
“We are very pleased with the initiative and wanted to accept apprentices in many different fields,” says Hilde Gunnulfsen in Industrilærling. “We have concluded no fewer than 93 apprentice contracts in Telemark. More than half of these – 53, to be precise – are based at Herøya factories.
The RHI Normag plant is taking on apprentices for the first time and is planning to accept more. Addcon doubled the number of apprentices it accepted, and the biggest apprentice factories – Bilfinger, Yara, Ineos and Eramet, which accept ten to 16 apprentices each year – also increased the number of places on offer. Yara has said that they want to take on even more apprentices in 2015.
Job offers for some
But winning an apprenticeship does not necessarily mean that the same companies will make offers of permanent jobs. Those are reserved for just a few people.
“The number of apprentices offered jobs varies from year to year and from company to company. In that case, it is good to have both vocational college and the “Y-veien” (an engineering course) at Telemark University College as a further option,” says Gunnulfsen.
We put a question to some of the factories accepting apprentices:
– Why do you accept apprentices?
“We feel that training experts is a vital social responsibility,” says Therese Knutsen, HR Manager at RHI Normag.
“Apprentices are our future,” adds Aggi Våtvik Pedersen, apprentice manager at Ineos Chlor Vinyls. “There is no guarantee that our apprentices will be offered permanent jobs. But a number of apprentices have been offered temporary employment over the past few years and gone on to be offered permanent jobs. And we are seeing a generation shift which will increase opportunities in future.”
20 apprentices were placed with Yara and Addcon last autumn.
According to the companies, ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of experts means accepting industrial responsibility.
“The apprentice scheme is our most important recruitment source for skilled workers,” says Rolf Lambrechts of Yara. “We employ a number of apprentices each year, in both permanent and temporary positions. Therefore, Yara is planning to increase its intake of apprentice in years to come.
Once Yara has added maintenance engineers to its own organisation in 2014, increasing the number of disciplines will also be necessary next year.”
Seal of quality
A number of people point out that apprentices are an environmental factor on shifts, provide greater diversity and quickly make contributions to the companies. Quite simply, having apprentices gives a seal of quality.
“Continuous training is sharpened up when apprentices ask questions,” says Therese Knutsen of RHI Normag. “I really do think it enhances quality.”
One in 25
There are more than 100 apprentices and TAF students (students studying technical and general subjects) undergoing training at Herøya companies. So one in 25 of the 2500 people who work at the industrial park every day is an apprentice. With 25 experienced ‘teachers’ to each apprentice, there are definitely plenty of opportunities to identify the best industrial experts (ed.).
There are clear differences between the disciplines at this industrial park in Grenland. The top three are chemical processing, which is by far the biggest (25), followed by industrial mechanics (9) and electrics/automation (7).
There are all kinds of specialist fields offered in parallel to these. Bilfinger stands out in particular as it offers apprenticeships in ten different disciplines. And for the first time they have accepted apprentices in carpentry, the concrete trade and insulation fitting.