Early September, no fewer than 18 enthusiastic young graduates took on the adventure of the AE Apprenticeship. What started many years ago as a one-week crash course has since grown into a fully-fledged onboarding program, spread over six months. Read on to discover how we’re preparing the next generation for successful careers as Business & IT Consultants.
First up on the agenda is an extensive training course at the AE head office, an intense period during which AE immerses the young graduates in the AE methodology and context through various sessions. The training sessions focus on sharpening not only hard skills, but soft skills as well.
In addition, the apprentices are presented with a business case to be worked out in small groups and presented to management afterwards. According to Danielle Glassée, Learning & Development manager at AE, this hands-on approach creates a safe environment in which the young graduates can get a taste of the various aspects of consultancy: “They get a chance to apply the knowledge and hard skills they acquired during training and are encouraged to approach the case in a pragmatic manner because of the limited time span, while also learning to collaborate with different stakeholders and to make use of their soft skills.”
In addition to the training sessions, the apprentices get to develop their internal network straight away. “They not only develop a close relationship with each other, but also receive tips and advice from more experienced AE consultants whom they can easily contact in a later phase when they need help servicing certain customers,” explains Danielle.
Before reading on, take a look at our aftermovie and get a glimpse of what's going on at AE during the first couple of weeks of the Apprenticeship.
In a next stage, the young graduates each start an assignment working for one of our existing customers. We don’t pick the customers at random, but purposely choose companies that best fit the apprentices’ interests, skills and growth path. It’s our way of ensuring they continue to develop on a personal level, making a difference from day one and getting off to a great start of an exciting career at AE. During their first work experience as a consultant, they get daily coaching from a senior/medior consultant and invited to regular follow-up sessions at our head office. In this way, they get to know the AE network through and through and maintain a relationship with us.
Kris Smet, ICT Project & Team Leader at Fluxys, happily points to his experience working with AE young graduates so far. “I’m all for the junior analysts from the AE Apprenticeship. Not only are they talented high potentials, thanks to their apprenticeship they come fully prepared. Afterwards, they continue to rely on an extensive network and the many knowledge-sharing initiatives AE sets up. I see young employees who are immediately operational, are quick to grow and show the same kind of maturity you find in more experienced consultants.”
Our CEO, Bruno Denys, is proud of AE’s long-standing tradition of apprenticeships and hopes to see it develop further. “Thanks to the AE Apprenticeship, our young graduates are growing in leaps and bounds in just a short period of time, forming close ties and learning like no other how to tackle customers’ problems. I’ve seen many of them immediately take to the AE culture and apply our knowledge in their first project already, which really reinforces the team spirit we find so important.”