- MIFA is hiring technical students to work weekend shifts at its manufacturing plant
- as well as solving a labour squeeze produced by a tight labour market, the initiative is proving to be a powerful way to attract young talent to the company
- many students search for internships or full-time employment at MIFA once they have graduated
“The Netherlands, just as many other EU countries, is currently dealing with a very tight labour market, with large numbers of jobs available across all sectors as the country's unemployment rate hits a 20-year low,” says Suzanne Verheijen, head of HR at MIFA. “One of the problems we see is that too few young people are selecting a technical career, so we're having to look for novel ways to attract them to the company. One way we’re doing this is hiring and training students, many of whom are following mechanical engineering courses, to work weekend shifts producing critical parts for our key customers.
“This is a win-win situation, with the students developing their skills and knowledge working in a technical environment, while earning more than they would in a typical student job. Meanwhile, we benefit by reducing the pressure on our regular employees, while maintaining production processes 24/7 and ensuring we can produce parts to the extremely high quality levels demanded by our customers. Additionally, we are also recruiting students directly once they graduate, with former students now working in areas such as R&D, project leaders or even a leadership role in our organisation.”
In such a challenging labour market, and with succession planning an ongoing topic as experienced and knowledgeable employees retire, attracting young talent is a key focus point for the company, Suzanne says. “One of the benefits of hiring technical students is that they act as ambassadors for MIFA, and we no longer have to focus on recruiting new students for weekend work as word-of-mouth recruiting works so well. The working students are also applying for internships at the company in other departments, which enables us to hire an intern that already knows the company, its systems and the culture very well. And we have seen that those students who become employees are highly motivated, with many rising through the ranks quite quickly – they are ambitious and look for leadership roles. We are very positive, as it’s this sort of talent that will help us continue to thrive in the future.”