4.A How to assess the companies’ satisfaction? (with VET completers’ performance)?

Company survey

Introduction

Employers are often willing and able to help with keeping the gap between education and work as close as possible. To do this, it has to be perfectly clear for them what the goal is, what is required of them and how much time it takes. A frequent company survey is an easy way of maintaining your relationship with businesses in a constructive way, since:

  • It supports your dialogue with employers regarding craftsmanship and its development.
  • It helps employers to articulate their requirements, whilst you test the job profiles, their variety and evolution so as to keep them up to date.
  • It enables employers to give their objectified feedback and for you to assess your iVET trainees’ and graduates’ performance against the standard set by the Occupational Profile - and to compare it with the performance and competence of experienced workers.
  • It enables employers to express their opinions and for you to identify points of improvement for the VET curriculum.
  • It helps you to support employers through a more development-oriented personnel policy
  • It will also ensure employer engagement and their willingness to participate in a dialogue with iVET providers.

Employers often find it hard to respond to open questions. They find it easier (and more productive) if they have something concrete to which they can respond. The job profiles proved to be an excellent basis to establish the companies’ satisfaction.

Which companies and business representatives to involve?

It is wise to involve sector representatives with the job profiles to use for this survey but for the actual survey it is essential to involve only the companies themselves. These companies must be representative for the sector and the jobs concerned. This means there has to be some variation in character, scale and region of the participants. The variation in scale might be threatened by another condition to be met: the companies also need to be in a position to provide insightful judgement on the issues at stake. This requires a certain amount of experience with employees and graduates/trainees in these jobs, leading to companies that will be a bit bigger and more active than average.

An alternative can be to involve and engage specialised employment agencies. Equally, a Human Resources officer can be helpful during initial stage to check the relevance of the job profiles.

It is important to make sure that the actual assessments are carried out by those in positions of operational management (of the employees in the jobs concerned). These managers have to be both responsible for and experienced in performance appraisals. They must know the people well.

Company assessments

The task and ability profiles composed can be easily converted to forms for checking the profiles themselves as well as assessing the employees’ performances, both in terms of tasks to perform as well as abilities to possess. The next examples are taken from the evaluation of kitchen staff training in England and Greece. They distinguish tasks and skills. Compe-tence-oriented professional profiles usually do not make such a distinction. In that case, you have only one assessment and can focus on the ability assessment as an example for a competence-assessment (with an additional questionnaire).

Task assessment

Employers survey

 

Tasks to perform / performance in tasks
Assessment in terms of "good result in time?"

Tasks to perform?

Average performance of experienced employees?

Average performance of fresh graduates?

Porter

Cook

Head Chef

Porter

Cook

Head Chef

Porter

Cook

Head Chef

Task field

Task

Menu and dishes

Create and adjust recipes

 

 

 

Plan menus

 

 

 

Propose adjustments of menus, recipes, garnishes and the like

 

 

 

Elaborate proposals in recipe and preparation instructions and the like

 

 

 

Purchase, reception, storage and stock of products

Select suppliers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order ingredients and other products

 

 

 

Receive and check foods and other goods

 

 

 

Sort and store ingredients and products

 

 

 

Manage the stock

Prep work
Mise en place

Supplement kitchen stocks and supplies

 

 

 

Set up ingredients and equipment

 

 

 

Assess/check the quality (freshness, shelf life, etc.) of products & ingredients to be used;

(Pre)process products and ingredients for preparation
(washing, cutting, (pre)cooking, mixing / stirring and the like)

 

 

 

 
The grey columns show the tasks to perform as defined in the Occupational Profiles. Companies add or remove tasks to their adjust them to their own situation.This image shows the first three task fields of the three kitchen jobs concerned.

In the yellow columns, companies can indicate how their experienced employees are doing on average in terms of "good result within time?"

In the blue columns, the companies can indicate how their trainees or fresh graduates are doing. The scale in this example is limited to three options:

- = under expected level, = at the expected level (default), + = above expected level

 

Ability assessment

The assessment of knowledge, skills and competences has a similar setup. The next example of such a form shows a small part of the ability profiles in the same three kitchen jobs: 

Employers survey

 

Professional abilities

Assessment of ability levels required and shown in practice

Level required?

Average ability of experienced
employees?

Average ability
of fresh graduates?

Porter

Cook

Head Chef

Porter

Cook

Head Chef

Porter

Cook

Head Chef

Type of ability

Ability cluster

Ability

Professional kitchen and cooking know-how

Knowledge and skills in food preparation

Mise en place techniques

B

B

C

Knowledge of ingredients

A

B

C

Knowledge of quality standards and tolerances

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tastes and seasoning

 

B

C

 

 

Cooking techniques

A

B

C

Presentation techniques

 

B

C

 

 

Professional terms and concepts, jargon

A

B

C

Knowledge of menu and dishes

 

B

C

 

 

Knowledge and skills in hygiene

Knowledge of standards/procedures (HACCP)

A

B

C

Knowledge of cleaning products, equipment and utensils, their use and application

B

B

B

Knowledge of using, cleaning and maintaining cooking utensils and devices

B

B

B

Knowledge of general standards for safety, health, well-being and environment

A

B

C


In the grey columns companies can correct the levels required in their own situation.

In the yellow and blue columns they can adjust the default for scoring respectively experienced workers and trainees/fresh graduates.

The levels required are defined like this

A. Basic: Works under supervision, assisting others, mostly simple/frequent/low risk work

B. Advanced: Self-reliant, can deal with most issues and solve most problems

C. Expert: Is specialist in this field, can help, lead, guide and teach others

The assessment scale again is limited to 3 levels and the default is set to “OK” to make it easy to score for the employers

- = under expected level, = at the expected level (default), + = above expected level

Examples of company assessments available

Please advise the file “4.B.1. Kitchen staff company assessment”

Please advise the file “4.B.2. Electricians company assessment”

Please advise the file “4.B.3. Banking staff company assessment”


Additional questionnaire

The assessment needs a proper introduction and will not be complete without some information about the context as well as some additional, relevant information. The next examples - based on a survey among Swedish electricians - give you an idea of the items and content of the questionnaire to accompany the assessment forms. They can be used as a checklist for an interviewer, or added to the assessment forms in a survey on-line or in print. 

Company questionnaire

1. Introduction

This survey is meant to adept our training programme(s) to the (evolving) requirements of the labour market. We describe three occupational profiles at consecutive levels in one profession to create detailed transparency in the craftsmanship as a touchstone for vocational education programmes. The description (Job profiles in Excel) includes

  1. a characterisation of the jobs;
  2. the tasks to perform;
  3. the abilities to possess at the relevant level;
  4. the corresponding vocational education.

We compare relevant vocational education programmes with the standards set by the companies for tasks and abilities.

We ask the companies to check these profiles to assess actual task performance and level of abilities using these occupational profiles for experienced employees as well as for fresh graduates.

We also ask for some additional information to put the jobs in context.

Parallel to the company survey, we ask trainees/fresh graduates to assess their own task performance and ability levels against the same occupational profiles.

We hope the company representatives will also be prepared to participate in a focus group to discuss the results with VET representatives.

 

2. Company context, trends and opinion on training programme(s)

Name of the company : ………………………………………………………………………………………………

Name of interviewee : Mr/Mrs/Ms……………………………………………………………………………………

Position of interviewee :……………………………………………………………………………………………

Number of employees :……………………………………………………………………………………………

Number of trainees/work placements (per year): ……………………………………………………………………

Numbers of workers and trainees in jobs concerned: …………………………………………………………………


Current trends and developments (in market, labour market, organisation, jobs, VET offer)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


General opinion on VET programmes/schools

 

3. Check on profiles and assessments of tasks and capabilities

(using job profiles)

a. Check on job titles, characteristics and corresponding VET

• What are the titles used in the company for these three jobs?

Assistant electrician ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Electrician ……………………….…………………………………………………………………………….…….

Senior/leading electrician …………………………………………………………………………………………..

• Additions/corrections in the characteristics? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

• Additions/corrections in corresponding educational programmes? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


b. Check and assessments of tasks and abilities

(using assessment forms)

• Tasks to perform

This sheet asks 3 questions for the tasks to perform in the three jobs concerned

  • Are these the tasks in these jobs in your company?
  • How do experienced workers perform in these tasks? (average)
  • How do fresh graduates perform in these tasks? (average)


• Abilities to possess

This sheet asks three similar questions on the abilities and their levels.

  • Are these the abilities to possess at the level described?
  • Do experienced workers possess these abilities at the level required? (average)
  • De fresh graduates possess these abilities at the level required? (average)


• Changing importance?

Can you point out on both sheets what tasks/abilities are gaining (+) or losing (-) weight in the near future?

 

Last question: Are you prepared to participate in a meeting to discuss the results of this survey?

Yes / No

 

Thank you very much for your cooperation!

 

Examples of company questionnaires available

Please advise the file “4.B.4. Kitchen staff company questionnaire”

Please advise the file “4.B.5. Electricians company questionnaire”

Taking into account the diversity of stakeholders, it is often difficult to get a common picture of both the current practice and the future developments. The good practice example below from the Italian National Report on the Financial and Banking sector outlines an interesting picture of the VET dynamics in the short run.

The VET dynamics presented below create a solid basis for reviewing current educational provision and show where to focus both in relation to job profiles, abilities and tasks. 

Good practice: The Italian Finance and Bank sector

The short term developments in VET supply that must be considered in future policies and activities must encompass the following aspects:

  • The "Digital Transformation" and Ecosustainability will have a decisive weight in characterizing the employment needs of the various economic sectors, involving approximately 30% of the workers whose companies and Public Administration will need in the next 5 years
  • Companies (including banks) and Public Administrations will look for workers with specific mathematical and computer skills, digital or related to "Industry 4.0"
  • Among the emerging professionals most requested on the market, there will be experts in data analysis, information security, artificial intelligence and market analysis
  • The new digital technologies will not only affect the expansion demand with the creation of newly-emerging professions, but will concern the entire replacement demand with the change of the skills required of new entrants in the existing professions. This will not, therefore, change in the name but in the content, in a more or less relevant way.
  • The search for digital skills will not be limited to the "technical" functional areas (Information technology, Design and Research and Development), but will also increasingly involve other areas: administrative, human resources, general services and the functions of staff
  • The demand for digital skills is associated with over 9 out of 10 profiles

Source: WP4 National Report – Italy 2020