157 People The Lebensbaum apprenticeship programme en confronted with the oft cited shortage of skilled labour there are two options complain or do something about it We long ago opted for the latter Our answer is an apprenticeship programme which we have been running for 25 years now We started by training wholesale and retail sales clerks and commercial packers Today they re called industrial clerks and warehouse logistics specialists Over the years we ve added further apprenticeships such as food technology spe cialists and machinery and equipment operators In addition to traditional apprenticeships we offer vocational retraining courses that allow participants to pursue a new career path In the present reporting period this included warehouse logis tics specialists and machine operators Due to our strong and rapid growth and our merger with Nie hoffs Kaffeerösterei we have not always been able to meet our self imposed target of apprentices making up at least 10 per cent of our workforce At Lebensbaum in Diepholz the appren ticeship quota is still considerably higher than average com ing in at 8 6 percent in 2016 7 8 percent in 2017 and 7 6 per cent in 2018 Taking both of our locations together the figure for 2018 is still 6 25 percent We can take on 18 apprentices at a time in Diepholz In addition to our famed open door policy and the basic transfer of pro fessional and workplace knowledge our programme includes regular lessons which alternate every two weeks with product training The former deals with topics related to Lebensbaum from internal processes to understanding sustainability while the latter explores our product world and provides in depth knowledge about raw materials their cultivation and har vest The programme of instruction is supplemented by field trips to learn more about other companies see p 158 Since 2017 our apprentices have been looked af ter by training officers These em ployees are charged with com municating department spe cific learning objectives and providing feedback to the apprentices Since 2018 we have con ducted an annual survey of our apprentices on the quality of our programme It includes questions on in house training their tasks and responsibilities as well as the instruction provided by the trade school Their responses help us continuously develop our apprenticeship programme We adhere to the maxim of making sure to train the sort of em ployees we d like to have Our apprentices often stay on with our company after they complete their programmes Some do choose to move on to go to university explore the world or get to know a different company In addition to apprenticeship programmes we sometimes of fer internships for university students in various parts of our company And there is also the option of working on academ ic dissertations and theses here If young employees who have already completed an apprenticeship would like to hone spe cific skills through professional development programmes we are happy to support them Learning partnership Since 2017 we have been partnering with the Die pholz secondary school in a project called KURS Zukunft The university in the neighbouring town of Vechta and the Lower Saxony skilled worker ini tiative jointly launched this project aimed at foster ing young talent in the agricultural and food indus tries The stated objective of our partnership is to introduce students to current and future challeng es facing the food industry During factory tours workshops and project work the students learn about the food business and as a side benefit become more aware of sustainability issues

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