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Cycling, traffic monitoring, AC: how BKK selected its trainees

In our case study column, Lilla Lázár, Head of Recruitment at the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK), presents their annual "outdoor" trainee selection project. In one working day, 18 young talents were recruited through an experience-based selection process.

BKK, gyakornoki program-

"We wanted to find talented trainees interested in public transport and increase our brand awareness among young people. To do this, we needed a creative, innovative and fun event where students could get a glimpse of BKK's projects and work," says Lilla Lázár, recruitment manager of the 1,600-strong Budapest Transport Centre, about the background to the outdoor trainee selection.



In spring 2022, the first traineeship opportunities will be advertised in the fields of transport and business support (law, HR, finance, communications). They promoted the opportunity through university job fairs, their own careers website and a social media video campaign. Applicants were asked for a short CV and no professional experience was required.



A total of around 70 applications were received. Of these, 40 candidates were invited to the selection process, which took place in two sessions with 15-20 students.



The candidates met at BKK's headquarters in Rumbach Sebestyén Street, Budapest, where Lilla Lázár welcomed the students, gave a brief introduction of the company and the traineeship programme, and then presented the programme of the selection day. After that, the applicants received a travel voucher, a backpack, a MOL Bubi code and then jumped on two wheels at the first bicycle station.



\"Lilla

The candidates met at the BKK headquarters in Rumbach Sebestyén Street, Budapest.



The first stop in the city was Városháza Park, a few minutes away, where a BKK project manager was waiting for them. The young people were able to observe the curiosities of the transport hub, learn about the challenges of the metro replacement, get an overview of the future plans for the further construction of trams 47-49. They were asked to note down what they found problematic and what they would do differently. Then they got back in the saddle and rode to the second station, the Pest end of the Chain Bridge. Here another expert colleague from the company was the host. They talked about the bridge renovation, the role of the tramway and its impact on traffic. A quarter of an hour later they were on their way, cycling through Ferenciek Square to Kálvin Square. Here they docked their bikes and walked to the traffic control dispatch centre. A 30-minute guided tour of the centre's operation, the challenges of traffic management, how to deal with emergency situations followed, and then the youngsters completed an exciting quiz.



Collaboration, teamwork, presentation



After two hours, the team, led by Lilla Lázár, returned by tram to Rumbach Sebestyén Street, where the group AC (assessment centre) began. Three groups were formed, each with a mixed group of young people: students of transport engineering, economics and communication worked together on tasks based on the information they had learned during the morning city tour. The BKK experts observed how they started to work on a problem, who played what role in the team, how they worked together, who presented the results to the company representatives and how.

The group exercise was followed by individual discussions. The trainee candidates answered questions such as what kind of tasks they would like to do, what interests them most and what kind of framework they could work in besides university. Company representatives also asked back on some points from the outdoor programmes. This also showed how much the candidates were listening and what they thought. During the group and individual exercises, the managers and HR representatives mainly assessed the students' competences.



"It is important for us that a new trainee, whatever their field, is committed to the development of Budapest and motivated to shape the future of public transport. We need young people's innovative ideas, often unique approaches and ways of thinking. Everyone at BKK cares about the city" - said Lilla Lázár.



She added that they said goodbye to everyone, so that regardless of the outcome, they would look back on this day as a field trip, where they could learn a lot about BKK, see the city and public transport differently, and get to know a lot of people.



Career path and pay rise



At BKK, the work did not end there, but the evaluation came. The heads of the departments have selected the candidates that are right for them. HR was keen to make a decision on the same day. The next day, most of the applicants were notified, and the company offered contracts to 18 trainees in total. Almost all the young people accepted the offer. The company offered a start date of 1 July or 1 September, but the majority opted for the first date.



The company hired the trainees on its own staff, offering flexible working conditions and weekly hours adapted to individual academic commitments. It paid a guaranteed minimum wage for the first semester, increased
the salary by 15 percent from the second semester and by a further 20 percent from the third semester, signalling the trainee's career path. In addition, young people received a cafeteria allowance and a transport pass.



\"BKK,

We need young people's innovative ideas, often unique approaches and ways of thinking.



Lilla Lázár said that the selection was a great experience for all participants and that there was minimal drop-out from the traineeship. Since the programme's launch, 14 trainees have already been hired full-time and the company holds an annual trainee experience selection with a similar scenario. "If the program is unique, innovative and makes young people curious, we have a winning case," he said.



The head of recruitment noted that experiential selection and related campaigns have also helped increase BKK's employer brand awareness. While in 2022, an average of 65 people applied for a position, in 2023 there were 114 applicants.



Photos: BKK


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