In this edition of our interview series, we’re talking with Jeske van Boxtel, the Trainee Program Manager from the Enexis Groep. From previous Best Traineeship Awards, it really shows that Enexis Groep has led the way with its Learning and Development program.
With 24 trainees currently in the program, Enexis traineeships are built on an in-depth organizational strategy, focusing on networking, building bridges, and broadening perspectives and leadership.
We sat down with Jeske to discuss her role, traineeships, what the Best Traineeship Awards mean for her work, and the Enexis Groep.
Congratulations on taking out the Best Practice award for Learning and Development – a second time! How does it feel to have your company showcased in the competition?
We are proud to have won the award for Learning and Development again, mainly because it was shown to be the most essential aspect of a traineeship by trainees. Enexis believes in and focuses on development, and it’s great that this is so experienced by the trainees and recognized by the jury.
Winning this award felt like the right thing – it shows that we have a brilliant program. We’re confident that when trainees start with us, we allow them to grow to their best and foster personal growth. Our program is strong, and the base remains the same, but we adapt it every year to align with the strategy, and what trainees face now is different from the past – we look at the challenges they face and make it better and aligned with the trainees’ needs every year.
Our judges found that the ways you weave experience and interplay were innovative, creating engaging and safe traineeships. Can you tell us why this is a fantastic part of your traineeship?
Our traineeship stands out because a trainee has a lot of inspiration and resources, a supervisor, a buddy (senior year trainee), the manager of the trainee program, and all the trainers. Together, these people form a safety net so the trainee can optimally focus on development, experimentation, and learning regarding content in the projects and personal development.
We find it essential that trainees develop a broad view of what is happening in the world we work in, an overall view of what is happening within the organization, and a comprehensive idea of what moves people. The program’s content and supervision challenge the trainee to develop a broad perspective.
We make the trainee center of the program and their growth path. We have challenging projects, but the results are from the trainees’ development. Some change programs during the duration because they can be challenged differently in other departments or be supported by a mentor during the project – and we change these sometimes as well in situations where someone can help them differently. We look at the trainees and what they need to grow in the best way; I think that’s unique. The results come from putting the development of the trainee first.
What are the most crucial benefits of the awards for anyone participating in the survey and competition?
There are many traineeships or programs called traineeships, and young people don’t know what is a good program or what they can expect. Everyone says they have the best traineeship, but awards mean we have the recognition that we have one of the best.
The award allows you to show potential trainees that we have a solid program. It is also a great way to examine your traineeship critically. You will receive feedback in the report and during the competition, which will help you.
Secondly, while we already know we have an excellent traineeship, this is the icing on the cake.
You get feedback on the program, which we take back to the trainees, look back on each year, and work on the program. Still, anonymous feedback helps us stay critical of our program – when it’s a competition, we all want to win, and in turn, we look at the other competitors and see what sets them apart and use this to grow as well.
What do you perceive as benefits for Enexis to be recognized by the Best Traineeship competition?
Potential trainees indicate that they value the award when applying because it reassures them that we have an excellent traineeship.
With recognition, trainees feel comfortable sharing their feedback. In the war for talent, it helps us attract the best trainees. Also, comparing ourselves to other traineeships- we have an outstanding traineeship, but we can learn from others and be open to different views.
What key learning points have you taken away from the Benchmark Survey and the Jury Feedback? Can you share how you’ll be integrating these into your traineeship?
Trainees are comfortable giving feedback – so from the survey, we saw our trainees wanted three projects during their traineeship, so this became a personal goal for me.
We also saw in the survey that we scored low in international experience. This is quite obvious because we are a very Dutch company, but we were able to give them an international experience. For example, this year’s trainees went abroad for a group assignment.
We saw that ProRail won and admired its diversity and inclusion culture. We strongly focus on diversity and inclusion at Enexis, though we still have some steps to take. It inspired me to be a trailblazer in Enexis and put a strong focus on diversity in the hiring of new trainees. Clearly, other companies were further ahead, so it became my target to implement change.
We have a good program; we don’t have to change the world to have an excellent traineeship.
What words do you have for future applications to the annual competition?
Show your vulnerability by participating. You can only grow and improve from it.
Be competitive, but take all the feedback on board. Take the opportunity to talk to other trainee managers. It is an excellent way to show applicants you have a good program, that you can be critical of it and compare it to other programs, and that you are willing to change.
Honestly, why shouldn’t we compete?
It’s hard when you don’t have a good traineeship program or when you are afraid to damage reputation by losing. But in the comparison to other companies according to best traineeship standards, so you can use that feedback to grow. Learn what you are good at but where you have to improve.
We must be a good example to Trainees – put yourself in a vulnerable position and learn.
Congratulations again to Enexis Groep for their win this year in the Learning and Development category and to Jeske for her time. Will we see you in the following awards? Register here.