Let's state the obvious: vacancies are hard to fill. Especially for those looking for technically skilled staff, it is howling with relief. Meanwhile, the situation has become so serious that it is restricting the growth of more and more companies.
Just imagine being an HR officer in an organisation crying out for extra staff. One possible solution: recruit abroad. But what do you do if you have the perfect candidate in front of you, but he does not speak the working language?
You let him go, admittedly with pain in your heart
You call a language school like BLCC and provide a language bath that will allow him to start working in your organisation within weeks!
PepsiCo also chose the latter option! You know them...the producer of many a guilty pleasure like the delicious Doritos® chips, Looza® drinks and Lay's® crisps. Finding technical staff proved no easy task for some time. Even for the locations in Veurne and Zeebrugge, yes, in the heart of West Flanders where the unemployment rate has been flagging at 4% for years. Apart from being a tough seaman, the chances of fishing up a good technician from the North Sea are thus extremely slim.
By contrast, the unemployment rate in Nord-pas-de-Calais is around 10%. So PepsiCo sought and found some well-trained operators across the border. VDAB was responsible for the selection of candidates; BLCC provided Dutch language training in collaboration with VDAB to prepare them for the shop floor.
Pathway 1: General introduction to Dutch (level: A0 > A1)
The new French-speaking PepsiCo employees were immersed in Dutch. Many of them never came into contact with the language before. So we started from scratch with one clear goal in mind: to give them a solid foundation in Dutch (level A1) as soon as possible.
We scheduled 15 sessions of 3-hour face-to-face language training. The employees were taught in groups every morning. In the afternoon, they worked independently - under supervision - on the BLCC e-learning platform. They were given concrete assignments to rehearse the previous lesson, and prepare for the next one. But grammatical structures were also further practised on the e-learning platform. Vocabulary, in turn, they studied via Quizlet. At the end of the course came an online test. Only those who passed were allowed to enter the second pathway.
Pathway 2: Further operator training, in Dutch! (Level: A1 > A2)
PepsiCo employees have now mastered the basics. Time to move up a level - literally and figuratively. On to level A2!
In this second programme, we planned 20 sessions of 3-hour lessons at a pace of no less than 4 sessions per week. The fifth day is rest day, to process all the learning. Because even the brain has its limits ;-). Again, the e-learning platform is fully used for exercises, grammar and vocabulary.
But this is not just any Dutch training: the second programme is 100% tailor-made for PepsiCo and their new recruits. We have gone through the basics and are now mainly learning key phrases to get started as operators. Thanks to the input we got from PepsiCo, we developed a tailor-made course for technical staff. From 'bagmaker' and 'weigher' to 'zeroing' and 'calibration'...there's a lot involved before you can enjoy eating your bag of Doritos® chips in your easy chair.
And even in between language training, the new operators also receive technical training, HR guidance and so on. All ready to join the PepsiCo team.
For training that goes way beyond language!
Evelyne from PepsiCo speaking.
Evelyne Coene, HR Business Partner at PepsiCo BeLux.