June 14, 2019

At Vestergaard, we place great emphasis on creating an inclusive workplace with room for people who have or have had various physical and/or mental health issues. We believe in finding the potential in every single person; it is all about creating the right framework and finding the right solution.

For 27-year-old Henrik, Vestergaard has been the setting of his everyday life since 2018. Henrik has a primary school exam, an interrupted education, and a former history of illness related to mental health issues.

With help from the local municipal job consultant, Henrik started at Vestergaard in a 13-week work ability testing. Since then, the work ability testing has been renewed several times, and now, Henrik has been working with us for more than six months. Henrik is from the local area and had already heard good things about Vestergaard as a workplace. From the beginning, Henrik’s own dream has been to become a trained machinist, but he needed help to achieve his goal.

Vestergaard has provided this help. Henrik is telling how ”Vestergaard has come up with a customized solution focusing on me and my development. They have taken my needs into account based on what was possible for the company”. Henrik explains that he started out the work ability testing slowly with a few hours of work per week in the department for ‘preassembly’. Gradually, more and more was added to his work – both in terms of working hours, so that he is now working full-time, and of complexity of his work tasks. After a few months, we asked Henrik if he was ready to try something new, and he was then transferred to the frame construction department where he worked for a few months.

Today is Henrik’s second day in the machinery department. This is the department where all new machinist apprentices start in order to learn some of the basic techniques of the machinist profession. It was the foreman, who is Henrik’s contact person at Vestergaard, who suggested that Henrik moved on to the machinery department. This way, Henrik could try out the introductory phase of the machinist training in order to get a sniff at the profession since he dreams of becoming a trained machinist.

The extended traineeship at Vestergaard has been a helping hand for Henrik to come closer to achieving his dream. This summer, he will start taking lessons in Danish and math which will prepare him to enter the Technical School at the turn of the year. The two things that Henrik underlines as particularly profitable aspects of the traineeship are personal development and clarification of his own plans for the future:

”Vestergaard has helped me regain confidence and belief in myself; I have become more open and have succeded in creating some distance to my mental challenges. I have had the time to find myself again and figure out what I want to do after the traineeship”.

It is not only Henrik who has noticed his positive development. One of Henrik’s colleagues also says: ”He really is a changed man!”

The foreman, who is Henrik’s contact person, also emphazises Henrik’s positive development: ”It has been a success; both on a personal level and with regard to the job where Henrik has continued to show progress. We have provided a safe framework and good colleagues. The fact that Henrik has changed that much makes us really proud that we have been able to help him”.

The positive development has been made possible due to a safe and inclusive environment atVestergaard. Here, Henrik has been met by friendly and decent colleagues and managers who have ”taken me under their wings”. At the same time, it has been a tough process for Henrik who points out that it has been particularly challenging with the many people and large assemblies, for example in the canteen of a large company as Vestergaard. Luckily, Henrik has not been facing the challenges alone, and right from the beginning, everyone has been considerate about Henrik’s needs. For instance, Henrik started out his training being introduced to a small group of colleagues instead of being given the tour and introduced to the entire company.

To ensure close collaboration and a developing process for Henrik, the foreman, who is Henrik’s contact person, has met with Henrik and the municipal job consultant every two weeks, just as the foreman has contacted the Technical School with a view to a future cooperation. Henrik really appreciates how helpful both managers and colleagues at Vestergaard have been, and he underlines that ”with its actions, Vestergaard is also sending a signal that the company wants to help actively”.

When Henrik starts at the Technical School, he hopes to be able to return to Vestergaard in an adult apprenticeship. Now, he knows what is expected from an apprentice, and how Vestergaard’s working environment is. It is an accommodating working environment and an instructive place for apprentices, and he would like to return to that. Henrik clearly feels that even though it is a big place, it clearly shines through that it is a family-owned company which exercises humanity towards the employees. ”Vestergaard is a big company, but it feels
like one big family; it feels intimate. It is more than just a company”.