In branches throughout the world, our employees work hard each and every day to provide the best possible service to our customers. With their local knowledge and expertise, our employees help both our customers and our company forward. Our employees are people who see and grasp opportunities and look well beyond the interests of their own operating company.
Our 1,126 employees come from 38 different nationalities and are spread across 42 branches in 22 countries. Of the total workforce, 30% are women and 70% are men. Van Leeuwen aims to be a good and attractive employer and stimulates its people to be the best they can be. Employees are given the opportunity to further develop themselves through various programs. This way we retain talent, attract new high potentials and continue to be a leading specialist.
Many employees are loyal to Van Leeuwen and have worked at our company for years. They are driven, possess a great deal of experience and specialist knowledge, and enjoy working here. Naturally, this is very valuable for us. To retain this knowledge and experience, and to be able to transfer it to new generations on a timely basis, we fully invest in acquiring and training new talents. We consider it important that employees of all ages feel at home with us and aim for a good balance among generations.
To captivate and retain younger employees we offer a Young Lions program. All employees below the age of 35 in the Netherlands and Belgium are invited to meet each other and to learn from each other. They exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas and this way develop a strong internal network. Over the course of 2019, we will be investigating whether and how we can offer young employees in other countries a similar opportunity.
As part of our international trainee program for new talent with a higher vocational or university education, young employees are prepared for a career at Van Leeuwen. Young people who recently completed their studies are provided with an opportunity to work on different projects over a period of two years. They work at different locations, in the Netherlands and abroad, and this way become thoroughly familiar with our company over a short period of time.
To be assured of the right people for our management positions over time, we offer a leadership development program: the Management Excellence Program. With a custom training program, aligned with our strategy and core values, a group of senior managers works on the further development of leadership skills.
In addition to the service provided to customers, we also take our social role seriously. We do this in different ways, for example by supporting various local sport, cultural and charitable events. Many of our employees do their part in this each year. It also provides them with the opportunity of getting to know their colleagues better and to strengthen their mutual ties. In addition, Van Leeuwen also regularly organizes activities for its employees. For example, in June 2018, we organized the first Van Leeuwen Beach Volleyball Tournament with teams from various countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. It was the sportive highlight of the year.