The Minister of Employment came on a visit
Some of the employees at Actona had to blink twice when they saw our Minister of Employment Mrs. Inger Støjberg, the mayor of Holstebro, Mr. H.C. Østerby, Mrs. Anni Munch from the Job og Kompetencenter (employment service) as well as a company of competent people from the municipality visit Actona on February 28th.
The reason for the visit actually was a successful story which started in June 2009. At that time HR consultant Mr. Ole Damkjær Pedersen suggested that Actona should work together with the Job og Kompetencecenter (employment service) in Holstebro.
In this way we had an extra possibility to fulfill our ambitions of being a socially responsible company.
The story behind: Since summer 2009 Actona has accepted taking a number of unemployed people in job testing at the Actona warehouse. Works manager Mr. Michael Jakobsen who has taken the mentor education clarifies the potential clients together with Mrs. Anni Munch from the Jobcenter.
“The people we accept must show a clean criminal record and also have a good physique. We want this co-operation to be a success and therefore it is important that our staff knows the difference between mine and yours and that they have the physique to work in our warehouse” says Mr Michael Jakobsen.
There is no doubt that Mr. Michael Jakobsen is the right mentor. His eyes are glowing when he is talking about his “project”.
”It is important that you have a mental surplus to make such a project work. You have to influence the employees of the company and make your colleagues responsible for these persons who might only be able to work 50%. In this connection it is important for me to thank everyone at the warehouse. They are taking good care of new colleagues and it is the first step for success.
At Actona we consider this project as a win-win situation.
“Of course we have to use a lot of energy and resources to create safe conditions for these people and teach them how to behave at a workplace, however they also work without taking jobs from others”, Jakobsen says.
Before they start at Actona Michael has found out which department will be the best for them. Some of the candidates, who are strong, can be a part of the unloading team whereas others might be better in the quality control. The aim of the project is to make these people able to take care of themselves in the long term.
”Throughout the years I think we have had 30 persons here at the company, some of them only for a couple of days and others for a year and a couple of months ago we had the pleasure to make an employment contract with Jan. He has been here for a year now and has shown that it is possible to get on the right track together. The feeling giving a human being a new chance is quite indescribable and the company gets an employee who is very loyal and happy to get out of the ”public system”, says a very satisfied works manager.
Jan does not mind people knowing his past. It is past now, however still the basis of getting back on the track.
“I was apprenticed as a woodcutting machinist when I was 16-17 years old, but unfortunately I never finished my apprenticeship because of disagreement with my boss. 20 years old I moved to Amager where I lived for a number of years and worked as a furniture remover.
Later I returned to Jutland and worked in a contracting company for 9 months. Next stop was 6 months at a fish factory, but after having pumped fish fillets with salt water day after day, I quit”, Jan says.
”The following jobs from the employment service – gave me a bad feeling – at the same time my private life went bad and when my wife left me my down trip started.
I started drinking, had no place to live, slept where I could and it continued like this for 2 ½ year until one morning when I was sitting with my ”breakfast” in a bottle and looked at my half asleep friend. However, suddenly – in a veil of mist – I was clear-headed and decided that I would no longer be a part of the abusive environment”, Jan remembers.
”I must say that it was not easy, but when I needed it the most I was offered a job testing at Actona. I did not expect much from the project, but already after the first working day I knew that Actona was a special place of work. Everyone said hello and good morning, I felt welcome and had the same working tasks as the other people at the export department.
For the first time it gave me the belief in myself – and it has not diminished after I have now found a new, cute girlfriend”, a happy Actona employee says.
Jan’s story is the best example of how a company of a certain size can make a difference. Now Actona is not only known as a successful trading company, but also as a company where you feel a social responsibility for the people who of some reason have been excluded from the general labour market.
It is successful stories like Jan’s which make the minister of employment – on a wonderful spring day – to set the GPS on the Actona address in Holstebro.