- Audi kicks off apprenticeship initiative during centennial
- Offerings include over 20 vocations plus option of combining with university studies or qualifying to later study at a technical university
Multifaceted, real-world, team-oriented, with excellent prospects for the future: Six Audi apprentices explain why opting to join the premium automotive manufacturer was the perfect choice. And in recognition of Audi’s 100th birthday, more young people than ever before will have an opportunity to enter the working world at Audi. The company will offer an additional 100 slots for apprentices – primarily in the growth fields of electronics engineering and mechatronics.
‘It was really important for me to find a secure job,’ explains 19-year-old Aslan Burcu, who is training at Audi to become a tool mechanic. Her father and a lot of her friends work at Audi, and advised her to apply there for an apprenticeship. When her letter of acceptance arrived, she didn’t have to think twice: ‘Everyone wants to work for such an appealing employer! Audi guarantees it will employ its trainees after their apprenticeships,’ says Burcu. ‘That’s not so common these days.’
Burcu’s shift at the Ingolstadt site’s Press Shop starts at 6 a.m. She puts on her dark-gray overalls and work gloves, laces up her bulky safety footwear, and turns her attention to the maintenance of tools at the Press Shop. Milling, turning, measuring angles, polishing surfaces: such tasks are part of Burcu’s workday. And keen eyes are essential.
‘We have to be very precise so that the tools function properly,’ she explains. And if a larger bolt is very hard to tighten, she simply asks a co-worker for a hand. ‘Men and women alike here are all part of one big team and are all pulling in the same direction!’
At the age of 16, Matthias Kraus began his apprenticeship as an electronics specialist for automation technology in Ingolstadt. When he is 19, he will earn not only his skilled-worker certificate but also the right to study at a technical university. In other words, when other apprentices are done for the day around three o’clock, Kraus goes to class twice a week. ‘Attending vocational training while simultaneously qualifying to later study at a technical university is not a decision that should be taken lightly,’ he emphasizes. He can play sports with his friends only on the weekend, for example. But for Kraus, who earned excellent grades at his intermediate vocational school, the dual track represents ‘the perfect opportunity.’ After just three years, he explains, he can immediately begin studying electrical engineering and information technology at a university of applied sciences – ‘and once I’ve set a goal for myself, then I definitely want to achieve it.’ The son of a self-employed master painter, he chose to train as an electronics specialist following an internship at Audi. ‘Engineering and technology simply fascinate me as well as offering great prospects for the future.’ He adds that he really enjoys being a team player. In fact, he and a fellow apprentice from the Training Department are putting together an electrical control box. Kraus has been programming the controller and his colleague wiring the components.
Once Anne Satzke had obtained her university-entry diploma, she knew for certain that she wanted to earn an engineering degree. ‘But theory alone would have been far too dry for me,’ she says. During her search for an approach which blends theory and practice, she came across the StEP Program at AUDI AG. She applied – and was accepted. In September 2008, Satzke began a 13-month apprenticeship in automotive mechatronics – the first phase of a five-year program. The daughter of a motorcycle mechanic, she detects simulated errors in running engines and tinkers with test vehicles. She treasures one thing above all: ‘Audi places a lot of stock in training and experiential learning.’ The 20-year-old technophile adds that she can always use any tool, instructors gladly help out, and specialized courses – for example, in welding – are on offer. It does not bother Satzke that she is one of only eight young women among 47 StEP enrollees at Audi.
‘If your will is strong and you know your stuff, then you can assert yourself in a stereotypically male domain just fine,’ she points out confidently. After a Chamber of Industry and Commerce certifies her as an automotive mechatronics specialist, she will begin studying electrical engineering and information technology at Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences. What’s more, AUDI AG pays tuition for its StEP enrollees. Between semesters and during an internship, Satzke will work at Audi in Germany or abroad. ‘I’ve chosen the right path,’ she adds with conviction. ‘Companies are searching desperately for engineers. Audi is providing me with the best possible set of skills and excellent long-term prospects from the word go.’
But Audi doesn’t just impart specialized expertise; it also encourages people to explore the big picture. Josef Albrecht, a tool-mechanic-to-be in Ingolstadt, and his colleagues are constructing a mirror sculpture four meters in height, designed by artist Christian Megert. Albrecht has learned a lot about the style of concrete art and the unique requirements specified by artists: ‘You have to conceal all the bolts and weld together the surfaces very smoothly.’ Isabel Dübler, who is training in Neckarsulm to become a body-manufacturing and vehicle-manufacturing mechanic, and a few co-workers are creating a special specimen: an Audi table soccer game. ‘This allows me to apply acquired skills in a totally different way,’ says Dübler with a smile; she hopes to finish her apprenticeship ahead of schedule and then go on to study.
Industrial/technical and business apprentices alike can also gain experience abroad. Elisa Wanger, who will complete her apprenticeship as an office-communications specialist in February 2010, worked at VW in Bratislava for three months. She learned about her host country in an intercultural-awareness course and learned ‘survival Slovak’ in a language-immersion class. The 19-year-old explains that, in retrospect, she learned the most by virtue of having to fend for herself in a foreign country. ‘For the first time, I orchestrated my daily routine by myself and managed to handle some challenging situations in a wholly new environment all on my own.’ In the past two and a half years, Elisa Wanger has worked in eight departments in Ingolstadt: from Accounting through Sales to Personnel. She has also attended IT seminars, phone classes, and foreign-language courses. She has ‘no reservations’ about recommending Audi as an employer: ‘I’ve never been bored. It’s amazing what opportunities we apprentices have at Audi and it’s great that we can learn so much here.’
Audi is offering 100 additional slots for new apprentices during its 100th anniversary.
Apprenticeships in over 20 vocations at both of Audi’s German sites, Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm; examples include:
- Business-oriented, logistical, and IT career paths
- Automotive technology, automation technology and production-process technology
- Technical product designer, vehicle-interior designer
- Gastronomical careers
Option of dual-track education: while simultaneously qualifying to later study at a technical university, vocational training to become an automotive mechatronics specialist, mechatronics specialist, electronics specialist for automation technology, or tool mechanic Application period for apprenticeships starting in 2010: July 30 to September 30, 2009.