From faxing to feedback: A review of the first multi-company traineeship in the Netherlands

Ormit Talent is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and who better to give us a glimpse into the past than one of our very first trainees: Anke Zuidema, Manager Corporate HRM and Organisational Development at Rijkswaterstaat. In a fascinating conversation, we dive into a time when mobile phones were not a common thing to own and communication occurred through faxes.

The pioneering phase: the first traineeship

Anke shares her memories of the early days at Ormit Talent, when the concept of a traineeship was still in its infancy and something new in the job market. And then especially a traineeship where you do assignments at different organisations: a multi-company traineeship. These days, traineeships are a dime a dozen. Which is why it is important to keep offering quality as an organisation, as one traineeship is not like another. And how important is it to give young people a valuable start to their careers?

But what was it like in those early days? And what was different from now or has always been there? Back then, Anke was part of the very first trainees in pool 1. A pool is a group of 6 to 12 trainees who go through the traineeship together. Did you know that pool 125 will soon start their traineeship?

Part of an initial phase like that is having teething problems and start-up struggles. For example, trainees were matched to a client, but on the other side of the country. How were the trainees supposed to get there? And what is an appropriate and market-standard salary for trainees? A traineeship was still a new-fangled thing, meaning there was no blueprint or example to follow.

Learning from and through each other: the Ormit key

Fortunately, the benefits of traineeships were felt fairly quickly. And they still hold 30 years later. One of the core values that has always characterised Ormit is ‘eager to learn.’ Anke stresses that although it can be daunting at first, the traineeship actually gives you so much in return. You get to know yourself as a person and professional. Among other things, you will develop self-knowledge, communication skills and personal effectiveness. “Your relationship with others also improves”, she adds with a smile. The programme started as separate training for the first pool, but soon boundaries were crossed and trainees from different pools found each other, creating a valuable mix of experiences. You know your own poolmates better by then, but when you also hear feedback and the perspective of others, you will learn even more.

The power of generalism and culture

Why did Anke choose the traineeship? “I’m a generalist because I didn’t really feel like I excelled at any one thing. But that’s precisely my strength: my specialism is that I’m a generalist”, she explains. This was the conclusion Anke reached after her time at Ormit Talent. Her generalism enables her to look at things at a certain abstract level, connect things and work in a project- and process-oriented way.

Culture was also very important to her when choosing an organisation, something she hadn’t heard so much about during her studies. By exploring different organisations, from the formal asset manager Robeco to technical stronghold Urenco, she discovered what really suited her. Which is a typical experience during a traineeship, where you get an inside look at different organisations.

The experiences that remain

Now, years after her Ormit traineeship, Anke still carries lessons from that time with her. Organisational sensitivity, quick adaptability, and the importance of feedback are just some of the valuable skills she gained during the programme. She stresses the importance of quickly taking ownership of new environments, a skill she was able to apply well in later interim jobs. She furthermore experiences how different she handles this compared to professionals who have not followed a traineeship. Thanks to the different assignments in her traineeship, Anke quickly understood how the bull runs and what her role and added value can be.

Ormit’s evolution: always at the forefront of leadership development

Responding to the question of how Ormit has developed over the past 30 years, Anke emphasises that the organisation has consistently been a pioneer in leadership and its development. She has seen it grow and professionalise, always at the forefront of the market, constantly testing and innovating.

Advice to new trainees and organisations

For current trainees, Anke has a simple but powerful message: “Get the most out of it. Step out of your comfort zone. Make mistakes, because this is the time and place where you can.For organisations in need of young talent, she recommends Ormittrainees. They bring in future leaders, individuals with that little bit of extra value. The selection that talents go through here is an extensive and rigorous one, Anke knows. It is only the top talents that are hired. Something that is proven time and again to organisations if they have an Ormit trainee on their team.

Other happy clients

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