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Training and upskilling programme at Arla Foods in Denmark

Arla Foods (Dairy company, number of employees: 19,600) has started an extensive skills development and upskilling programme in 2009. The initiative goes back to the social partners in the Danish dairy industry, who has agreed to upgrade the skills all employees in the dairy industry within the next years.

Objective: Lifelong learning at Arla Foods

Overall objective is to train unskilled to skilled workers and skilled workers to technicians. In order to meet the increasing and complex demands from production and distributions and also to provide employees with qualifications, which can be used in other companies, the initiative is implemented in three phases:

  • Step 1 and 2: Qualification courses for Danish and mathematics (2009-2013). Step 1 focuses on a screening of employees for dyslexia. Around 3,500 employees have been screened for dyslexia, numeracy and literacy capabilities. Approximately 80% of the target group have participated in training activities.
  • Step 2: Individual competency assessment (2012-2015): to identify gaps between current qualification level and VET formal qualification level (EQF level 3-4). Step 1 and 2 are compulsory and hence the foundation for moving into the next level (step 3). If an employee rejects training for Danish and maths, he/she may not participate in any further training and qualification courses offered by Arla.
  • Step 3: Specific training activities (from 2016 onwards)

Offered in modules, as building blocks in a continuous development process: Technical qualification development (e.g in packaging and logistics), IT and languages, Personnel development (e.g. conflict handling or collaboration with other people within the organisation)


Outcome and achievements

Intermediate feedback on the skills development programme is very positive. Starting with Denmark, there are plans to continue with the up-skilling programme in Sweden and the United Kingdom.  A detailed evaluation will be given once the program is completed.



The programme is funded by the Danish Dairy Training Fund (part of the collective agreement) and public funds for adult education.