What do apprenticeship companies look for when they are recruiting new trainees?
Studies show that many employers don’t care that much about grades and academic performances. They are attuned to quite other things.
Does the apprentice show up on time? Are they strong and able-bodied for the task at hand? Can they make their bed or use a saw? Do they blend well into the company culture?
Knowing these things is important for an apprenticeship company that’s about to hire trainees. Below, we will go into some more points on the subject.
Private companies hire acquaintances
First of all, we need to name the elephant in the room: In the public sector, a lot of young people have to apply for an apprenticeship. Meanwhile, in private companies, a quite different process is taking place.
These companies often hire acquaintances. There are several reasons for this. One is that they might feel responsible for their employees’ children or a boy in the neighborhood who needs an apprenticeship. Another is that the employer wants to have control over how the youth behaves and fits into the workplace.
We can’t brush off the fact that many private companies hire apprentices based on who they know. But there are also other things employers look for.
Personal qualities matter
According to a (Norwegian) article the research magazine Forskning.no wrote, called Karakterer er ikke viktigst for å få lærlingplass, personal qualities might sometimes matter more than academic grades: “Show up for work on time. Smile and be interested. If you do this, it doesn’t matter much whether you have an A or C in language or mathematics class.” They write this in their article
Also, motivated apprentices are quick to adapt to the company’s work and routines. Some of them, however, need to be trained when it comes to behavioral qualities. Examples are showing up for work, being amiable and easy-going with others, as well as safety and security.
How well does the apprentice fit the company?
SmartEmploy, an innovative Norwegian company that specializes in matching apprenticeship companies with trainees, is a big proponent of the match-up between apprentices and employers. In one of their (also Norwegian) articles for apprenticeship companies, Hvordan bli lærebedrift, they share one of their key missions. They have something they call “BestMatch profiles,” which helps companies find the trainees that “best match” their work. This way, the trainee might have the best personal qualities, and the best grades, but if they don’t match up with what’s required at work, then they won’t be matched up with this company.
To summarize, apprenticeship companies might look for quite different things when it comes to trainees: Is it someone they know? What qualities do they have? How well do they match up with the work?
This is a quite hopeful finding, as it acknowledges that yes, something is left up to chance (who you know), but there is also something that can be done to have a higher chance of being hired as a trainee.