Our staff have their say

Thea Smit-Dekker

Thea began the Traineeship for Foodstuffs & Process Technology at Zwanenberg in August 2006. She had already done an internship at Zwanenberg Almelo in 2001. During the Foodstuffs Technology course she followed at higher vocational level, she realized that her internship had given her an affinity with meat.

The Traineeship exceeded her expectations. Thea: “I had the idea that it would be the sort of internship that would involve close supervision. But that was not the case. I was given lots of freedom and autonomy to work at my own initiative. There were of course coaching sessions in which my activities were appraised. What I also really like about Zwanenberg is that people here are always so willing to help, everyone is so prepared to lend their expertise to others. But you must be a ‘proactive type’ and take lots of initiative!”

Thea has now progressed within Zwanenberg into the position of Manager Corporate New Product Development, a role she enjoys immensely and is very motivated by. What she thinks could make Zwanenberg even stronger is bundling the strengths (expertise and machines) of its different subsidiaries.

Stef van Leeuwen

Stef began his career at Zwanenberg in 1982. He has already followed a number of different internal training courses, such as introductory and intermediate SVO Private School for Butchers courses. He now works as Foreman for Meat Deliveries at our production site Van der Laan Almelo. He also manages the daily meat demand for both our Almelo and Raalte sites. What he really likes about this job is that he has contact with so many different people.

He was one of the first people at Zwanenberg to start an EVC [= Valuation & Validation of Prior Learning, or VPL] process provided by Zwanenberg. Stef: “I was not very enthusiastic at first at having to participate in yet another internal training course or project. But now I'm getting into it, I have become much more enthusiastic and am happy that I said ‘yes’ after all.”

Stef has had to carry out different assignments, such as preparing and chairing a progress meeting, carrying out work appraisals and drawing up training plans for the department he works in. He had to give a presentation on an improvement process in the area of order and tidiness in the department. There is regular consultation between the AOC supervisor, Stef and his occupational coach at Zwanenberg.

Mathijs Praas

In 1995, Mathijs Praas began his career at Zwanenberg Food Group, and he now works as Human Resources Manager. A wide-ranging job that he does with great pleasure!

Zwanenberg recently initiated the Management Development process, and Mathijs plays a leading role in this.

Mathijs: “The Management Development process is intended for employees with higher vocational or higher academic background. In addition to Valuation & Validation of Prior Learning (VPL, or EVC in Dutch) for the production sites and Management Trainees, we consider it important a development process is also launched for higher vocational and higher academic graduates. This group of employees will develop further through a personal coach and training sessions/courses.”