SEAT’s commitment to training and young talent celebrates a milestone with the 60th anniversary of the Apprentice School. This vocational training centre of excellence first opened its doors in 1957 with the aim of training young professionals in the auto industry and since then over 2,600 students have studied at the school.
Over the past six decades, the SEAT Apprentice School has adapted to changes and new developments in vocational training plans, adding pioneering programmes such as the Dual Vocational Training System, inspired by the German model, which was implemented in 2012. This programme combines theory and hands-on training in classrooms with work stages in the SEAT production plants. The students sign an apprenticeship employment contract which enables them to contribute to social security and receive monthly remuneration for the work they carry out.
The high technical level of the facilities and instructors, together with on the job training in a real-life environment, are what drive the success of the SEAT Apprentice School, where 163 young people are currently studying and working. SEAT Vice-president for Human Resources Xavier Ros highlights the commendable work by the School in the company’s training strategy. “Our students have a triple advantage: they learn a trade, they develop it in a real work environment and they can join the workforce with an open-ended contract when they complete their training. The fact that one of every two students who have gone through the Apprentice School are a part of SEAT’s current workforce and that 11% of the company’s executives graduated from the centre shows the merit of the corporate strategy that has been implemented”.
The Dual Vocational Training offered by the SEAT Apprentice School enables students to obtain a dual degree, both German and Spanish, after completing a training cycle that lasts 4,600 hours over three years. Classroom and laboratory training is combined with on-site practical work in the production centres, where they work under the supervision of instructors who have been trained by the German Chamber of Commerce. Based on the German model, this training gives them the global skills that will fully prepare them to tackle the challenges in their day to day lives.
In a constantly changing, disruptive sector such as the auto industry, the training and education of professionals is key to the success of organisations. “They are the future of the company. We need young people who are eager to learn and adapt to change”, added Xavier Ros. As an example we have Marc Estapé Martos, a graduate of the SEAT Apprentice School who, following his three-year training programme, joined the Paint workshop in mid 2015. Estapé is one of the 45 students from 19 countries in all 5 continents who the Volkswagen Group has distinguished for his extraordinary performance and professional capacity.
New learning methods and actively listening to millennials
Attracting talent and convincing the best professionals to stay is a priority for the growth and improved competitivity of SEAT, so the company attaches particular importance to its workers’ training and capacity-building skills. This requires committing to new methods of learning that inspire teams and provide them with innovative, experiential training.
In the framework of this vision, the company has implemented SEAT Talks, a gathering point where workers are given a new perspective on socio-economic issues that encourages them to discuss useful aspects for the present and future of their work. Digitisation was the central topic of the initiative’s first session, which was built around several creative, inspirational lectures.
SEAT Talks is framed within the company’s EASY strategy, a set of structural projects to help SEAT make progress in its digitisation process and positioning as a supplier of the easiest mobility solutions. Among these, the Human Resources area is developing the Tiki-Taka project, which aims to make it easier to work in the organisation as well as for employees to interact with each other.
Furthermore, and considering that 24% of SEAT’s 14,000 employees are millennials, they play an undeniable role as drivers of the digital transformation process that the brand is undergoing. For this reason SEAT is committed to actively listening to them in order to define new work methods which meet their requirements.
With this strategy in mind, last September SEAT organised a Facebook-based collaborative digital workshop with young employees not exceeding 27 years old. The goal was to identify opportunities for improvement in the areas of culture and leadership, development and learning, compensation and performance and work methods. The results pointed to SEAT millennials wanting to work in a completely digital, connected, flexible company where room is given to develop autonomy and flexibility, and which fosters collaborative work, co-creation and internal co-working, among others.
SEAT is the largest employer in the sector and one of the largest in the country. In 2015 the company contributed to Spain’s economic development with the creation of 90,250 jobs (direct and indirect). Its activity has a considerable carry-over effect on the country’s business and industrial fabric: for each direct job created by SEAT a total of 6.5 jobs were generated in Spain.