To attract talented graduates to the company, Aalberts recently launched its international management trainee program. During the program, we send trainees on six rotations working at different Aalberts companies over a period of 18 months. By the end, trainees have a strong understanding of our business, have built their own network, and are well prepared to successfully take on a role in our company.
When Jan-René Dolfing, Manager Sales and Marketing at Pneutec, heard about the program, he jumped at the opportunity to get involved. “This program brings people with the right education into our organization, and with them fresh ideas and the newest knowledge, tools, and technologies,” he explains. “If we offer trainees challenging tasks which bring them new experiences but also benefit the company, and make sure that they can deliver and that we deliver for them, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
Jan-René mentored the program’s first trainee within Aalberts advanced mechatronics, Mark Postma, who recently completed his first assignment at Pneutec.
Mark came to the program ready for some real-world work experience after finishing his degree in international business and languages from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle. He explains, “The traineeship at Aalberts seemed like a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and figure out which direction I should take my career at a fast-growing company with a global footprint.”
During his first project, Mark worked with Pneutec’s Sales and Marketing team to gain insights into potential paths forward and ways the company could become more focused. He performed external market research and an internal analysis of the company’s strengths and weaknesses, ultimately providing his team with a mix of short-term practical advice and long-term strategic advice. During his second assignment, he will work with Flamco (part of Aalberts Hydronic Flow Control), to help optimize and standardize their sales processes.
So far, the experience has been extremely positive. “My mentor was clear about what he expected from me and what would be useful for the company. He gave me a lot of freedom to do things my own way and was really open to hearing how I thought we could tackle certain problems,” Mark says. “Many of the people in the company have worked here for a long time. Initially I was unsure if they would listen to a 22-year-old who’s new to the company, but they were actually really interested in my perspective and also extremely helpful.”
“I needed an extra pair of hands – a trainee that would be a team player and a self-starter, rather than a spectator,” Jan-René says. “Mark quickly became part of the team and was able to do his own thing, rather than be taken by the hand and led. He brought new ideas and new insights, asked the right questions, and challenged the status quo. I think his findings will definitely help us going forward.”
For his part, Mark is looking forward to the rest of the program and seeing where it will lead him. “This traineeship has already given me the opportunity to meet and learn to work with many different types of people and build up my network,” he says. “I’m passionate about building relationships with customers and figuring out how to meet their needs, and this program is helping me develop the skills I need to do that successfully.