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"Two former apprentices are on the verge of becoming store managers."

If you cultivate a good workplace culture, you can fill your apprenticeship vacancies more easily - as Marco Monego, Chief Human Resources Officer at Lidl, also says. With the help of Great Start!, the certification for outstanding training companies, Lidl ensures the quality of its training culture and adapts it to the changing demands of the new generation, for example with its "From learner to managing director" concept. In an interview, Monego explains what makes up Lidl's training culture and what tips he would give other companies on training culture.

Great Place to Work: Lidl received the "Great Start!" award for the third time in a row in 2019 - congratulations! What was the decisive reason for you to carry out the first survey in 2017?

Marco Monego: Thank you very much for your congratulations! We were convinced that we had a very good offer for our students. But we also wanted this quality to be examined and confirmed by an independent testing agency. We therefore decided to carry out the first survey in 2017 and were particularly pleased with the positive testimony we received from our learners.

According to the Great Start survey, 83% of learners at Lidl confirm that they can contact the trainers at any time. How can I imagine apprentice mentoring in day-to-day business?

Our vocational trainers are available to the apprentices at all times in the day-to-day operational business and maintain a close exchange. In addition, the apprentices are also regularly visited by the training and further training coordinators in order to clarify overriding issues and ensure that the level of training is the same in all branches. A few years ago, we created the IBK (internal industry knowledge) as a fourth place of learning alongside the company, üK and school. This is where the apprentices meet 3-4 times a year for training courses and joint exchange. In summary, the following applies to us: The support of our learners has the highest priority.

Why is student satisfaction an important issue for Lidl?

Satisfied and motivated employees are the reason for the growing success of Lidl Switzerland. This also applies to the learners we want to train as future managers. Our "From learner to managing director" concept offers learners numerous perspectives and development opportunities. Right now, for example, two former apprentices are on the verge of becoming branch managers.

In a press release, you said, among other things, that the award also showed that your training concepts would take effect. What makes your training concepts so good?

Above all, personal support is important, as is how we respond to individual learners and accompany and support them on their career path. We also have particularly good experiences with gradually transferring responsibility to the learners. For example, we regularly hold project weeks in which apprentices are allowed to manage a branch on their own. The learners can grow from this task and the feedback from our learners and the line is correspondingly positive.

How does learner satisfaction affect the filling of apprenticeships? Do you notice a difference? Is there perhaps mouth-to-mouth advertising from the learners themselves? (Quasi as ambassador?)

Of course this has a very positive effect. Our campaign " " - with the accompanying video on Youtube - was very well received. We were able to get many new young people interested in an apprenticeship at Lidl Switzerland.

Marco Monego Chief HR Officer Lidl9

Marco Monego is the Chief HR Officer at Lidl.

What are the three most important measures at Lidl to make learners feel comfortable?

I can only repeat here: close and personal support, even beyond everyday professional life, certainly pointing out prospects for the future and the numerous opportunities for exchanging ideas, such as during the introductory and project week or the internal industry study.

How can I imagine the process of a trainee during the three-year training period?

The apprentices start their training period together in a central apprentice week. This is followed by induction in the branch to get to know all the individual areas in the branches. In addition, the IBK's take place at regular intervals. In the third year of the apprenticeship, the apprentices can already assume responsibility and have the opportunity to lead their first shifts and even manage an entire branch during the project week. During the entire apprenticeship period, attending vocational school is of course also part of everyday life.

What advice would you give regarding the training of learners / training concepts to a company that is not yet as advanced as Lidl when it comes to learners?

Allow plenty of time for the supervision and support of learners: training does not happen on the side. We are also very successful in regularly seeking the opinion of our learners and involving them firmly in all matters. After many years of experience, we are able to hold on convincingly: All this time is worth it, but you need a little patience before the fruits of your labour can be harvested. 

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