For many years Grundfos has employed staff with limited working abilities or handicaps (currently some 100 employees working in 8 workshops) in close co-operation with local authorities.
In addition Grundfos started a new project aimed at creating employment opportunities for young people with social problems or people with non-Danish cultural backgrounds. Established in November 1998, this project, (Young People in Jobtraining, abbreviated in Danish UIJ) too, involves close co-operation between Grundfos and local authorities.
Young people with problems
The project involves young people between the age of 18 and 25 with special needs for support - due to social problems and consequent difficulties in obtaining employment, including young people with alcohol or drug problems in the past, or criminal backgrounds, as well as language and cultural adjustment problems or young people with a history of disregard.
The project aims to train and teach the participants to be able to function in a normal working environment. The object of the project is to enable the participants to support themselves economically or qualify for an education. They are offered jobs in Grundfos production or apprenticeships as engine fitters, toolmakers, moulding fitters, automatics mechanics, electricians, locksmiths, carpenters, electromechanics, or data mechanics. However, the participants are not obliged to remain with Grundfos. If some of them get job offers from other companies the project will still be considered a great success.
The positive experiences gained so far have inspired Grundfos to encourage other companies to establish similar projects. The company actively takes social responsibility - gaining apprentices with solid qualifications in return.
The project is self-sufficient. The participants earn their wages by contributing to Grundfos' production and the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs contributes by paying the salary of the project leader, Tom Th. Pedersen. “We give the participants - who have a past of adversity - responsibility and show them that we trust them. We give them the support and education they need, trying to understand and help them solve their problems”, he says. According to Pedersen the young people are most of all searching for an identity. “You may obtain a certain identity by wearing a Hells Angels symbol on the back of your jacket. But you may obtain another identity by wearing a Grundfos shirt. And it makes a whale of a difference!”, says Pedersen.