A new year, new opportunities: A few weeks ago, another semester of practical engineering studies for about 30 Tnuva employees ended.
This is a project that began about 3.5 years ago in cooperation with the Government Institute for Technological Training and the ORT Braude Engineering College in Karmiel. As part of the program, production workers with a high school education can acquire an academic education as mechanical engineers in day studies with full funding from Tnuva, while receiving full wages.
"Breaking through a glass ceiling." Ricky Bakfein, Photo: Rami Zaranger
Riki Bakfein, Director of the Tnuva Group's Organizational Development, Learning and Recruitment Division, explains: "In Israel there is a shortage of thousands of practical engineers and a very large gap in workers with critical skills in core positions in the industry. For example, a shortage of thousands of mechanical and electrical engineers. We realized that there was this problem in Tnuva, with more than 6,000 workers, most of whom live and work in the periphery. We made a decision to take the initiative into our own hands and encourage our employees to move forward from within. We created an innovative career development program for them."
Education, salary upgrade, and competency experience
Socially funded study programs have existed in Tnuva for years, but when they checked with the company, they realized that production workers did not apply enough to these tracks, partly because of economic and personal barriers, and mainly because of fear of returning to study material that they last encountered on the bench, some 20 years ago. To this end, Tnuva built an envelope consisting of supporters, mentors, division into study groups and allocation of learning rooms in factories.
Studies last about two and a half years, including a preparatory program if necessary, and an internship. The first class began in February 2020 and out of 17 students, 16 graduated.
Following the success, says Ricky, two more programs were opened this year, one in the north and the other in the center. In addition, a school for driving professions was opened, a program that trains truck drivers to be heavy truck drivers, over 15 tons. She adds, "The adults show their children that it's possible, that even at the age of 40 it's possible to succeed, that it's worth investing and that it's possible to break through the glass ceiling."
"Anything is possible." Saar Sofer, Photo: Omer Mocha
Saar Sofer, 46, from Afula, was one of the graduates of the first class. He has worked at Tnuva for 16 years and says: "When the screening began, I wasn't into it. I was afraid to go to school at 44, to sit in a chair after not studying since I was 18. My manager said it would help me upgrade financially and professionally, and I decided to go for it."
After graduating, he began working as a mechanic in a maintenance team in the Dairy Operations Division. "Every day I learn something new and go home satisfied at the end of the day." Saar has three children, and he says he did it "also so that my middle son would see that anything is possible in life and that it's never too late."
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