How young graduates are transforming their global careers with Knauf Insulation?

By Pauline Pelous
July 19, 2019

Knauf Insulation is continuously investing in a new generation of young talent to energise the culture that gives our company such a successful competitive edge through the European VIE scheme and our International Graduate Training Program.

We have been long-term supporters of the European VIE scheme a career-accelerating initiative set up by the French Government for graduates under the age of 28 with a Master’s Degree.

The initiative allows graduates from European Economic Area countries a variety of 12- and 24-month opportunities in any country where Knauf Insulation is operating. Assignments may range from positions in our sales and marketing or supply chain and logistics departments to engineering opportunities and project management.

In addition, the success of our International Graduate Training Program (IGTP) has gone from strength to strength with 1,300 applications for eight positions in the two years since it started.

Like the VIE, this program offers graduates a chance to travel to Knauf Insulation sites around the world, explore a wide range of career opportunities, work with people at all levels, develop new skills and experience ownership of critical projects (see below).

To mark United Nations Young Skills Day celebrated this week and designed to highlight the importance of sustainable youth development, we look at how these programs benefit both our company and the graduates taking part.

Creating future leaders

Company view: Understanding the big picture of our company will help our IGTP graduates become our positive leaders of the future. After three years of training the graduates should be fully equipped to work in one of our plants, under the management team and grow to make a difference. Ideally, one day, they should be able to manage a plant.

Graduate view: “Where will I be in five years? There are many interesting positions, either in the plants or the central division. It will depend on the positions that are vacant and the results I deliver, but I want to progress as far as possible,” says Process Engineer Harrison Gustot

Ensuring new energy

Company view: “The successful IGTP candidates were chosen for their energy, dynamism, expertise, knowledge, ability to travel and the positive contribution they could bring to the company in terms of our Knauf values of partnership, entrepreneurship, commitment and Menschlichkeit (humanity),” explains Technical Director Glass Mineral Wool EUR & CIS, Cyrille Lerat, who oversees the IGTP initiative.

Graduate view: “Knauf Insulation really encourages us to bring more to the table. As a result, we actively take on responsibilities with a higher commitment to change, offering innovative, out-of-the-box ideas,” says Process Engineer Thejeshwar Nanjundaiah

Offering a wide range of expertise

Company view: The IGTP provides training in the manufacture of Glass and Rock Mineral Wool at different sites around the world followed by international assignments of 12 months each working with people at every level and learning from the best practices globally. This gives the company the option to locate graduates in whichever technology there is a need and wherever there is a need.

Graduate view: “We get insight into all aspects of the company and the bigger picture following training sessions for Research and Development, Marketing, Purchasing, Logistics and Finance. I believe that receiving a training and working in process for both Glass Mineral Wool and Rock Mineral Wool provides a beneficial global perspective of the industry,” says International Graduate Engineer, Anastasia Parlali

Improving customer-centricity

Company view: Working in various plants, experiencing different product specifications and facing a range of expectations from all over the world will help our IGTP  graduates contribute significantly to improved customer-centricity.

Graduate view: “We are working on projects to target better quality, better productivity and better energy savings and in the end, the customer benefits from this. More action is being taken to think like a customer to implement positive change,” says Process Engineer Adrien Saracco.

Putting safety first

Company view: At Knauf Insulation we are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all our employees. Safety always comes first.

Graduate view: “Graduates need to model outstanding safety behaviour and always be ready to act with responsibility and encourage team members to take ownership of safety,” says Camilla Saltini.

Continuously improving

Company view: During three years our IGTP engineers will be able to get a full understanding of how company transformations can be achieved. By working with people at every level from operators and technicians to engineers and plant managers they will learn the best and worse practices for improvement.

Graduate view: “A focus on people is one of the five dimensions of Knauf Insulation’s Continuous Improvement culture — we are the new people and we aim to be the future of the company. We are working hard on values, good examples and best practices. If this is implemented on a daily basis we can achieve a good outcome,” says Giuliana Rivituso an International Process Engineer who has worked with Knauf Insulation since February 2018.

Nurturing self-development

Company view: International experience, new ideas, exchanging best practice, understanding different technologies are all important aspects of IGTP in addition to management training, mentoring and certified Six Sigma training all of which contribute to the leadership skills the company needs tomorrow.

Graduate view: “What is important for me is to explore a bigger world and learn new skills. I want to understand what I’m good at. What inspires me? What do I need to work on? Where can I make a real difference?” says Process Engineer Alejandro Simó Versperinas.

Mentorship and international exposure

Company view: VIE offers inspiring opportunities to accelerate a graduate’s career through manager mentorship and deep learning from a diverse range of cultures.

Graduate view:VIE is a contract, it gave Knauf Insulation and myself the opportunity to work together. What helped me develop professionally was the environment I was working in —my manager acted as a mentor; colleagues around me welcomed me warmly and helped me learn and I enjoyed the experience and fantastic diversity of a different region,” says Charles Pouzin, Supply Chain Manager, Malaysia.

Learning through experience

Company view: The VIE scheme helps develop skills, identify fresh talent and provide the development opportunities to continuously improve learning agility.

Graduate view: “At Knauf Insulation you can blossom among great colleagues from all over the world working on international projects. Young graduates are given the opportunity in the company and the company benefits from fresh vision,” says Suzie Hazotte, Marketing Specialist, based in Belgium.