The Renault Experience program is a comprehensive training program that strives to achieve a unique balance between theory and practice. Jointly formed by Renault Spain, the government of Castilla y León (Spain), and some of the regional universities, including the Universities of Valladolid, León, Burgos and Salamanca the program aims to prepare recent graduates of engineering for the world of work.
Structure of the program
The goal of the program is to boost the employability of the engineering graduates through targeted training that complements and activates some of the knowledge acquired by graduates during their stay at the university. The program is structured in three phases: training, work placement, and employment. The training covers a wide range of technical competences, including e.g. product-process engineering, production systems and logistics and generic competences such as team management, communication, and language skills. Offered for total of 200 hours, the training includes lectures and factory visits among other activities.
Upon successful completion of the training program, some of the high calibre candidates pass to phase two, where they carry out a paid internship in one of the facilities of Renault Spain for a period of up to one year. During the work placement period, the trainees are expected not only to put into practice some of the theoretical knowledge they acquired during the training phase but also to develop their understanding of Renault’s organizational culture.
Those who successfully demonstrate their competence are rewarded with a work contract. Although the minimum threshold Renault Spain set at the design of the program is to employ at least 40% of the trainees, in practice it has hired as many as 80% of the trainees. It is also indisputable to argue that, even those not hired by Renault have a great chance of securing employment in other prominent companies in the region due to the relevant practical and theoretical insight they gained from the program.
Barriers and drivers involved
The main driver for the involved stakeholders has been the desire to improve employability of the graduates in the region. All the four participating universities as well as companies in Castilla y León region are clearly benefiting from this high quality training program.
The main challenge has been the competition from other employers in the region. Owing to the fact that it takes a relatively long time to get a work contract through the Renault Experience program, graduates have become more reluctant to apply to the program in the recent years. Additionally, language barrier was identified as one of the major challenges for those who do not have the sufficient foreign languages skills to benefit from the training or potential employment opportunities.
Transferability of the program
Provided there is a concerted effort from all the key regional actors such as the city municipality, universities and companies in the region, the Renault Experience program is easily transferable to other regions which are committed to enhance the employability of their graduates.
This article is based on a case study originally written by the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, developed as part of the Erasmus + Knowledge Alliance Project “Integrating Entrepreneurship and Work Experience into Higher Education” (WEXHE).
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