Lieuwe Oosting (aged 60) is a planner at Wagenborg Nedlift in the broadest sense of the word, and recently celebrated his 40-year jubilee in 2019. To say that he has a wealth of know-how and experience is an understatement. We really can refer to him as ‘an old hand’. So how do you pass on 40 years of know-how to the next generation? Wagenborg Nedlift likes to team up generations.“Exactly, that’s why I have Lex sitting next to me”, Lieuwe agrees. Lex Vollenbroek, 25 years young, joined Wagenborg Nedlift as a junior planner at the end of 2018.”
“I am learning so much from Lieuwe. And in a nice way”, Lex explains.“I always get the chance to first figure out for myself how to approach things, Lieuwe doesn’t spoon-feed me.” “I certainly don’t”, Lieuwe agrees. “I think it’s really important that the new generation, in this case Lex, first come up with their own solutions and with fresh ideas. We can then look at them together and I can help with the ‘finetuning’. My way of passing on know-how is to be an open book”, explains Lieuwe. “And I protect him against making mistakes of course. I watch over his shoulder and advise him.
What really delights me is that it’s two-way traffic. Lex doesn’t just learn from me, but I learn from him too. I certainly have my weaknesses. Even after 40 years, I don’t have all the answers and I don’t think anyone ever will”, Lieuwe laughs.
The cooperation between Lieuwe and Lex is proof that such an age difference is certainly not a problem, and can in fact offer great advantages.“I love watching the younger generation developing within the organisation”,says Lieuwe. “And of course I’m aware that at the age of 60, my career will at some point come to an end, and the ships will sail without me. That’s why I find it so enjoyable and refreshing to work with young people. Plus Lex is smart, quick and eager to learn.
”Lex also recognises the advantages of working with a ‘more mature’ colleague. “Lieuwe has so much experience and is always ready to teach me anything I need to know. I can ask him just about anything. It’s reassuring to have experienced people around you.
”Looking to the future Lieuwe admits he is not yet thinking about retirement, and instead prefers to focus on the here and now. Yet the timewill come when he needs to pass on the proverbial baton. When asked whether he will struggle to bid his mentor farewell in the future, Lex is very clear: “Luckily there are plenty of other experienced colleagues to help me with any questions.”
“I believe it very important that the new generation receives very broad training, in order that they can be deployed across the board”,says Lieuwe. “Lex has already worked in various departments and learned a great deal”, he continues. “I have complete confidence in Lex and therefore in the future, and will be able to confidently stepdown when the time comes.
Wagenborg Nedlift uses various instruments to ensure experience and expertise. Besides a sustainable transfer of knowledge, a flexible shell is an important part of the company's human resource management, in order to capture outflow of staff due to retirement and unexpected leave.
Moreover, Wagenborg Nedlift is investing a lot in an internal training and education program for rigging personnell, where experienced specialists are watching over new and unexperienced employees, a so-called buddy-construction.