Royal visit in Germany

13 March 2015

Press release




Limelette, Friday, March 13. As part of a working visit to Germany, the King, accompanied by a large Belgian delegation, visited Lhoist’s work-based training centre located in Wülfrath in Germany. Around seventy young people each year are trained at LWE Rheinkalk, Lhoist’s German subsidiary, in addition to theoretical training. Some 85% of the apprentices trained this way are taken on by Lhoist. The work-based training system allows youth unemployment to be effectively tackled and the needs of businesses to be better met.

Today, at its work-based training centre in Germany, the Belgian group, Lhoist, a family-owned company and the leading producer of limestone and dolomite in the world, welcomes King Philip and a large Belgian delegation composed of Employment and Education Ministers and representatives from workers’ and employers’ organizations, the world of education, employment services, training institutes and field workers (SMEs and schools).

The purpose of this visit is to study different aspects of work-based teaching in Germany, a type of teaching that combines practical on-the-job training and theoretical training in a vocational school or university. The "Berufsbildungszentrum"(BBZ), Lhoist’s training centre, is a pioneer in work-based training, since it started its programmes in 1950. Since that time, it has been one of the largest contributors to youth training in the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Germany.

Training with a job at the end of it all
Funding for this type of training is provided by both the companies and by the State. In the case of the BBZ centre, Lhoist covers the cost of the wages paid to apprentices, and the cost of the trainers and the equipment and clothing, while the State finances training in vocational schools.
Each year, the BBZ trains around seventy apprentices taking a baccalaureat in industrial and mechanical engineering or a baccalaureat in engineering and electricity. Lhoist has also partnered with other companies and SMEs in the region. Eleven apprentices thus work for five partner companies. Depending on the trades concerned, work-based courses last between two and four years. Once they have acquired their diploma, 85% of the students find a job within Lhoist.

Effective against youth unemployment

This system is proving to be effective in the fight against youth unemployment. It is therefore no coincidence that Germany and Austria - the two European countries where work-based training is the most widespread - posted the best performance for youth employment at the end of 2014. By way of comparison, the unemployment rate for under 24 year-olds is 7.4 % in Germany, versus 21.6 % in our country. The work-based training system therefore represents an interesting example to follow in Belgium.

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The Lhoist group is the largest producer of lime and dolomite in the world, with a presence in over
25 countries on five continents.  A global presence with its origins in Belgium.

Rooted in the Wallonia since the nineteenthth century, the Lhoist group now employs 765  people in Belgium. Its activities generate many indirect jobs in our country.

In addition to the group’s headquarters located in Limelette, the policy centre for Western Europe located in Waver, the world centre for research and development based in Nivelles and the world centre for information technology located in Louvain-la-Neuve, Lhoist’s Belgian industrial activities are distributed over four sites at Hermalle, Marche-les-Dames, On-Jemelle and Merlemont.


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