June 27, 2020

Vestergaard offers high-quality training and takes responsibility for training young people and ensuring that they have the skills needed in the labour market of the future – including young people who, at first glance, do not seem to fit in due to their various challenges. Throughout the years, we have seen many young people bloom and grow with the tasks and responsibilities given to them at Vestergaard. We believe that you can find the potential in everyone if the right framework is in place.

One of the apprentices whom Vestergaard has taken under its wings is the almost 20-year-old Oliver. At the time of writing, he has been a sheet metalworker’s apprentice for 3½ months at Vestergaard. Growing up, he had to deal with various challenges relating to his social and mental development. These challenges meant that Oliver made a couple of detours before starting as an apprentice at Vestergaard.

With the assistance of a municipal job placement consultant, Oliver started a work test assessment at Vestergaard in the form of a one week’s internship. That was in the spring of 2018. Despite being nervous, Oliver completed the internship with praise and a feeling of having succeeded: The experienced and skilled metalworkers were impressed by the speed with which Oliver was able to independently operate the bending machine for hydraulic piping. Oliver’s drive and collaboration between Vestergaard and the job placement consultant meant that another internship was organised.

The second internship was followed by a basic vocational education and training programme (EGU) at Vestergaard. An EGU programme is a vocational programme with the purpose of the young person acquiring personal, social and industrial competences that may lead to a job or further education. Usually, an EGU programme is a two-year programme with periods at school and internships. In Oliver’s case, a six-month programme was agreed upon with a combination of vocational training and education. In just a few months, Oliver made such positive progress that the job placement consultant decided that it was not necessary for Oliver to continue the EGU programme. The collaboration with Vestergaard meant that Oliver was ready to enrol in the basic technical VI-form college programme already after six months. Ongoing contact between the production manager and Oliver then led to an apprenticeship at Vestergaard.

The two-year course with vocational training and the EGU programme has let the production manager, who is also Oliver’s contact person, witness an enormous development in Oliver. Oliver has learnt to be more outgoing and to speak with lots of different people. The course has also made Oliver a much happier young man.

As a Vestergaard apprentice, Oliver experiences that: ”I feel comfortable here, included and one of the group. I feel as if I fit in here. Not everywhere is as open as this place. I like that, and that’s why I wanted to come back here”. Oliver experiences that his needs are considered in the workplace. Oliver tells us that he has become better at saying say no and yes by relying on his gut feeling. In that way, he has developed his very own ’work ethic’, as he puts it.

Vestergaard has not planned a special apprenticeship for Oliver, although Oliver is not like most other young people. The production manager explains how Vestergaard generally plans an apprenticeship:

”Oliver’s apprenticeship is no different from other apprenticeships with us. We endeavour to ensure that all our apprentices feel comfortable. We have a regular schedule for the first three months of every apprenticeship. This is a period when they man specific stations and learn some basic skills of the craft. All apprentices have a file on their apprenticeship. We also note in this file if the apprentice needs a bit of extra training – when it is necessary to return to some of the specific tasks”.

At Vestergaard, there is also a sense of solidarity amongst the apprentices. This is supported by the fact that Vestergaard organises an annual apprentice outing including both industrial and social aspects. Every third month, all apprentices gather for a joint meeting. Here, they can spar on e.g. working conditions. The oldest apprentice is responsible for convening the meeting and writing up minutes afterwards.

Every six months, Vestergaard takes on a new apprentice. In that way, we contribute to the ongoing training of skilled staff. Vestergaard’s safe atmosphere means that we are able to give the young people room to develop. This enables them to achieve the industrial, social, and personal competences required in the labour market of the future.