Feelings of success in Fazer’s ʻ125 Opportunities for Working Life’ initiative
Fazer’s ʻ125 Opportunities for Working Life’ recruitment training initiative for people with difficulties to find employment is making great progress: 70% of the graduates have found jobs and some were inspired to continue their studies. The initiative was launched in 2016, and the next application round will start by the end of the year.
Fazer is an official Finland 100 partner. As part of the partnership, all partner companies present a gift to Finland. Fazer’s gift is the ʻ125 Opportunities for Working Life’ recruitment training initiative, launched in 2016. The initiative aims to offer opportunities to people with difficulties to find employment, such as the long-term unemployed, unemployed young people, people with reduced functional ability and immigrants. It is carried out in co-operation with the Helsinki Deaconess Institute and the Finnish Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
The experience gained from the initiative is very positive. So far, two courses have been conducted in production and two in restaurants. There were 786 applicants from among whom 78 students were selected. The initiative will continue next year, and the next food production training will be opened for application by the end of this year.
Good results are the sum of many factors
The first students graduated in December 2016. Now, there are already 65 graduates. The graduation percentage is over 80. The small share of drop-outs indicates the recruitment process was successful and the participants were highly motivated. Piia Rajakallio, Senior Manager, Recruitment at Fazer said: ʻWe have worked hard to make this a success.ʼ Before selecting where to place the students for their work based learning, they were interviewed twice. ʻWe wanted to make sure all the students would be placed somewhere that suited their skills and interests best. We even looked at how they could get there.ʼ
The training consists of theory and work based learning periods. The Helsinki Diakonia College is responsible for the training, and Piia Rajakallio is pleased with their great input into the initiative. For example, the students have been supported by an employment instructor whom the students can turn to for advice. ʻI would also like to thank Fazer’s supervisors for their coaching. They offered their trainees great support and encouragement,’ Piia Rajakallio says.
Trainees mingled well with Fazer employees
Heidi Lappalainen and Mervi Jaatinen work at Fazer’s chocolate factory in Vantaa, which has had several trainees. They both commend the enthusiastic and motivated attitude of the trainees. Heidi Lappalainen, who works as a foreman, says they were well informed by the HR department before the initiative began. ʻTrainees are treated the same way we treat any new employee, and they have become part of the group of colleagues,ʼ she says and goes on to explain how issues with language skills were also solved. ʻIf verbal instructions are not enough, we use gestures. There is always a way to get your message across.’
Mervi Jaatinen is glad that one of the trainees in her department could continue as a seasonal worker. ʻThey were well liked, took initiative and were interested in learning new things,’ she says. Both Heidi Lappalainen and Mervi Jaatinen feel, based on their experience, that the initiative was useful. ʻIt wasn’t just another course you take, it really offered a chance to find employment. This makes us feel really glad for them’
We are at target speed
When the initiative started, Fazer made a commitment to employ at least 70 per cent of the graduates. Mika Videman, SVP, Human Resources of Fazer Group says: ʻOut of all the graduates, 46 have found employment with us or with other companies. This is 70%, so we are at the target level, which is wonderful. In addition, it is great that some of the participants wanted to continue their studies.’
The students are pleased they were given a chance to show their skills and potential. The initiative has given some of them the courage to apply for a study place. About ten graduates will now continue their studies, for example, to become qualified cooks, and some will study something quite different, such as electrical engineering or caring industry.
The initiative has opened Fazer as a company towards a more diverse world. The whole company and its employees have supported the initiative. Diversity is seen as a positive resource. ʻWe all have felt good about being able to help people in tangible ways,’ says Mika Videman. ʻEveryone who has turned the direction of his or her life is a source of great joy to us all.’
Liisa Eerola, Director, Confectionery Communications & Group Partnerships,
tel. +358 44 710 8860
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Fazer is an international family-owned company offering quality bakery, confectionery, biscuit and grain products as well as food and café services. Fazer operates in eight countries and exports to around 40 countries. Fazer’s mission is Food with a purpose. Fazer’s success, ever since its establishment in 1891, has been based on the best product and service quality, beloved brands, the passion of its skilful people and the Group’s responsible ways of working. In 2016, Fazer Group had net sales of 1.6 billion euros and nearly 15,000 employees. Fazer’s operations comply with ethical principles that are based on the Group’s values and the UN Global Compact.
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