|Casa da Poesia – Shared planning and monitoring of apprenticeships
Casa da Poesia is a Portuguese health and social care institution, offering their customers a variety of services, such as integrated continuous care, nursing home, senior day care, senior home care, kinder garden and pre-school. They started to onboard apprentices back in 2011, due to the many requests received from neighbouring professional and higher education institutions as well as from the Portuguese Ministry of Employment (which runs a national apprenticeship scheme). Casa da Poesia hosts, nowadays, an average of 12 apprentices per year, from VET (EQF 4) and HVET (EQF 5+) levels, in a variety of professions, such as kitchen assistants, personal care aides, healthcare and social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, sports specialists, physical therapists, gerontologists, and human resources specialists.
At Casa da Poesia, apprentices are involved and encouraged to take an active role in the management of the apprenticeship program since the beginning: The apprenticeship plan, which includes a description of the specific tasks to be performed, their rules and timetables, are defined in collaboration between the apprentice and the mentor, to make sure the apprentice is not given tasks s/he doesn´t feel comfortable performing. During her/his apprenticeship, the apprentice is encouraged to express her/his opinion about the plan and the way it is being implemented, as well as to offer suggestions and to promote new activities, so s/he can apply fresh knowledge, develop a critical view and acquire real practical experience in direct interaction with other staff, the customers and their families.
Casa da Poesia is very happy with the outcomes of their apprenticeship programme experience so far, as they feel it provides moments of reciprocal learning, which strengthens their workforce and organizational knowledge: The customers often express their contentment in having the apprentices´ new faces around them with whom to chat and perform their daily activities and staff is given the possibility to get in touch with new practices and to diversify their performance.
So far, Casa da Poesia has hired 13 apprentices. The number of apprenticeship candidates is growing every year, as not only the educational institutions and ministry are satisfied with the programme outcomes, but the apprentices themselves pass the word to other students. This is seen by Casa da Poesia as an added value, as it improves the external dissemination and recognition of the services they provide and allows them to consolidate their vision to “interact proactively with the social, cultural and economic actors in the region”.