Volvo Group decided to indefinitely continue a program in Sweden that brings in 400 young people per year as temporary workers to learn industrial skills needed in manufacturing. The company last week announced its plan to continue the program, called Volvo Step, which began three years ago.
As the war for talent heats up, companies are looking at innovative ways to bring in new talent. Programs like this are a promising option for companies facing skills shortages or wanting access to a broader pool of talent. The train and then try-before–you-buy method has paid off for both Volvo Group and the candidates working at the company or elsewhere.
“Securing competence for the company is important and requires a long-term approach,” said Kerstin Renard, executive VP corporate human resources.
“The Volvo Step program helps us reach out to young people and arouse their interest in working in the industry, while making a positive contribution to youth employment,” Renard said. “We see this program as a means of ensuring that more young people acquire the skills and experience needed for working in production here at Volvo or in other industrial companies.”
Volvo Group is separate from the auto manufacturer that shares the same brand. Volvo Group manufactures trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. It employs approximately 100,000 people in 19 countries.
The Volvo Step program will have trained 1,200 people when the third round of participants graduate at the end of October. The program takes place at 11 production facilities across Sweden and handles 400 people per year ages 18-22. Nearly half the participants are female.
Participants are temporary employees for one year with salary determined by collective agreement. They do not replace ordinary staff and the program includes theoretical and practical training.
While the program does not guarantee a job with the company, participants receive a certificate and the training is aimed at providing a foundation for a career in the manufacturing industry. Some 60 former participants have gone on to work directly for the Volvo Group and approximately 100 work at the group via staffing firms, according to Karin Wik, director of external communication at Volvo Group headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Overall, approximately 75% of former participants have found employment.
When the Volvo Step program first launched in autumn 2012, more than 8,000 applications were received.