Ljubljanske mlekarne - "Lactalis knows exactly what kind of skills their engineers need"

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Wednesday 9. August, 2017

"Lactalis knows exactly what kind of skills their engineers need"

Slovenian student Mina Strmole is involved in Lactalis fellowship training programme. After her first year in France she has visited her future employer, Ljubljanske mlekarne, Slovenia's no. 1 dairy producer.

How was your first year in France?
I've enrolled in ESA, École supérieure d'agricultures in Angers. The study programme is based on apprenticeship: I spend a month at school attending lectures and another month at Lactalis production plant Canelia Petit-Fayt (milk and butter producer). This means I have to move from Angers to Petit-Fayt in the north of France once a month which takes about six or seven hours by train. In Angers I live on campus, whereas in the north I share a flat with my fellow trainee Ivana from Croatia.

All the courses as well as your traineeship in the dairy factory are in French. You've only started to learn French last summer. That's quite an achievement!
Prior to my departure I've attended an intensive course of French in Slovenia and another two months in Angers. It was quite challenging at the beginning but eventually I got used to it. Now I am quite fluent and my colleagues at work appreciate my effort because hardly anyone speaks English.

How does your day in the factory look like?
Most of the time I work at the production plant where we produce milk. I work on small projects such as checking on how the cleaning system is implemented or how to improve losses of milk. Most of my work is in the area of what we call “amélioriation”, i.e. improvement.

How would you compare your studies in Slovenia to your French experience?
I’ve had my Slovenian bachelor degree in food technology and nutrition. Study programme at ESA focuses on numbers: a lot of mathematics and statistics. The French like to work with data, with numbers, accuracy is their passion. The process is very intense: you have a month of lectures followed by an exam. Sometimes this can be quite difficult but on the other hand the Slovenian system is much more demanding in terms of quantity. We pay a lot of attention to details, to theoretic approach, but not much practice. In France it is quite the opposite: almost half of students are the so called “apprentis” (in English apprentice) who study and work at the same time. I’ve noticed that French companies invest a lot in HR, especially in young engineers. They perceive them as an opportunity, not expenditure.

You have another year in front of you before you join Ljubljanske mlekarne.
Yes, I am moving to Lille in September to study quality, safety and sustainable development, this time in English. Then I will “move” to another production plant, most likely a yoghurt factory upon the request of Ljubljanske mlekarne. The HR department is currently reviewing the possibilities. Lactalis has a very strategic approach to HR development; they know exactly what kind of skills they want for their employees. That is why the ESA courses are so closely related to the work in production plants.

Wednesday 9. August, 2017

"Lactalis knows exactly what kind of skills their engineers need"

Slovenian student Mina Strmole is involved in Lactalis fellowship training programme. After her first year in France she has visited her future employer, Ljubljanske mlekarne, Slovenia's no. 1 dairy producer.