Heidelberg. The vocational training system in Germany has long since been considered a matter of course, while having a significant influence on the prevention of youth unemployment.
Unemployment measured among the youth population in Germany is extremely low when compared to youth unemployment figures globally and especially in Europe. This is a continual source of inspiration for foreign executives, including management professionals from Egypt who came to Heildeberg to take part in the BMWi Programme early 2017. The “wow” effect was certainly not lost on them.
To date, all groups under the umbrella of AHP International’s further education and training centre have had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Germany's vocational training system at ABB Training Center GmbH & Co. KG. The management professionals from Egypt were given insight into the recruitment of apprentices. Different aspects of employee selection procedures such as interviews, tests, keys to grading systems and job-application evaluation procedures were presented. This was followed by detailed information on the structure employed for various apprenticeship modules – pertaining to both technical and commercial disciplines. This century-old system utilised by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) as an assessment and certification body combines theoretical knowledge with its direct practical application within the on-the-job, company-based training process. German enterprises can subsequently rely on a national vocational qualification certificate issued through the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) anywhere in Germany. The continuous and standardised apprenticeship training and qualification of young professionals are the foundation on which the vocational training system was built. It is a critical success factor for German enterprises, in particular manufacturing SMEs.
As the MP participants from Egypt observed, the sense of motivation shared by young members of staff at the ABB apprenticeship training centre was another decisive factor in making the vocational training system such a success. Foreign management professionals often cite loyalty, motivation and reliability as critical areas in HR management in their home countries. The visit to ABB’s training centre once again underlined the level of input, inspiration and ideas the MP participants took away as a result of their direct insight into the apprenticeship and further education training model in Germany. The active exchange allowed ideas to germinate, which the Egyptian executives were able to discuss directly with the apprenticeship centre's board of management.
Executive Director Marcus Braunert also noted the innovative ideas brought to the table by apprentices who, subsequent to the submission of a production and cost plan, are in a position to realise their own product designs. These include the manufacturing of products, which the apprentices come into contact with as part of their training in raw materials processing and physical metallurgy – such as, for example, a skipping rope with adjustable metal grips or emblems denoting the cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim, which are presented as gifts. According to Braunert, this significantly increases apprentice motivation. The visit was rounded off with a tour of the apprenticeship and training centre and a visit to the computer facilities, workbenches and multifunctional workstations.
MP participant enthusiasm was, however, most palpable for the long-term and sustainable setup, which characterises the vocational training system. The parity, transparency and comparability of apprenticeship modules - irrespective of whether it concerns mechatronics or electro-technology - also left a resounding impression. The management professionals from Egypt deemed these to be decisive competitive advantages for German SMEs. Such new insights thus provided them with the all-important impetus to implement the ideas concerning staff management, apprenticeships and further education programmes within their own enterprises.
Franziska Wegerich AHP International