Work experience traineeship programmes: prevention and protection of trainees
Finding a job is often difficult for jobseekers with no previous work experience or general skills. Work experience traineeship programmes allow these people to acquire experience on the job and expand their skills within a real work environment. If you are considering running such a programme within your organisation, then it is important to know that there are certain obligations to fulfil to ensure the wellbeing of trainees.
Throughout work experience traineeship programmes – introduced by the public employment service of Flanders (VDAB) at the beginning of this year – trainees are subject to the same regulations in terms of workplace prevention and protection as other workers. The provisions of the Well-Being Act and any corresponding implementation decree apply to all trainees, including the Royal Decree on the health surveillance of workers.
Depending on the risk analysis associated with a particular job position and on the obligations stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement, the trainee may be required to undergo a medical exam prior to entering the work experience traineeship programme. This decision will be made by the internal department for workplace protection and prevention of the VDAB itself, who will also bear the cost of the exam. Should the waiting period be too long, then you are free to organise the medical exam yourself, in which case you will be responsible for the costs involved.
The public employment service of Flanders (VDAB) will insure the jobseeker for the duration of the work experience traineeship programme against any accidents on the way to and from the company or organisation where the traineeship is carried out. Public liability insurance for the trainee as well as any relevant personal protection equipment (in accordance with the risk analysis) must be provided by the company or organisation where the traineeship takes place.
What is a work experience traineeship programme?
Preparing jobseekers who have little or no experience or general skills for a regular job is what work experience traineeships are all about. He or she will be paid via the public employment service of Flanders (VDAB) for the duration of their on-the-job training within a company or organisation.
- The trainee must complete a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 40 working hours per week, and this for a maximum period of 6 months. You are under no obligation to hire the trainee upon completion of the programme.
- The trainee must be employed within a real workplace setting.
- The trainee’s mentor must assist the trainee in building relevant experience and developing professional competencies.