In Belgium, 35% of employers say they are unable to fill open jobs. Lack of applicants is the most common reason, followed by a lack of applicants with the required skills. An estimated 30,000 of job vacancies in Belgium are in the technical and digital fields.
As a result of the country’s skills shortage, employers in these fields face a severe lack of qualified applicants to fill open jobs. Many are looking for production operators, electricians, electronics engineers, mechanics, and other technical specialists, but are unable to find the skilled labor needed to remain competitive in the region.
Manpower helped create the Belgium Technical Academies, and more than 12,000 people have been trained in three centers across the country. The Technical Academy—based on the success of the Logistics Academy started by Manpower more than a decade ago to address the shortage of forklift drivers—is designed to provide a flexible solution to help companies fill the most difficult profiles in the job market.
The nimble methodology is designed around three pillars: employment, practical skills and partnerships. Manpower sought to bridge pathways to training and employment, prioritizing the acquisition of practical skills. The training is centered on cross-sector partnerships and includes hands-on collaboration with companies seeking candidates for hard-to-fill job openings who are also ready to integrate new employees at the end of the training course.
Training includes development of skills for new candidates as well as upskilling and reskilling and uses a four-step process:
- Rigorous candidate selection, including an in-depth analysis of motivation and learning ability.
- Selected trainees taking part in a theoretical training curriculum via an e-learning system punctuated by a validation of skills.
- Three weeks of practical training simulating real-work situations in groups of eight under the supervision of a specialized trainer within Manpower’s mobile unit.
- Job placement under a temporary or fixed contract with the supervision of a coach within the client company to facilitate integration.
The Technical Academies provide an innovative solution to narrowing skills gaps in Belgium. Jobseekers are able to access high-quality training in some of the country’s most in-demand fields. Meanwhile, employers are able to help build a pipeline of work-ready candidates for their hardest-to-fill roles.
Since the start of the project in 2017, the Manpower Technical Academy has delivered results to Belgian employers. For example:
- More than 150 people have been trained at the Manpower Technical Academy.
- The job placement rate for the initial group of trainees was 85%.
- Based on early success, a specific training program has been developed with the Belgian Railway Company (SNCB-NMBS) to address the talent shortage for technical operators.