Topic of the month May 2013


Welcome to the Team! Trainees turning into Colleagues

Made it– the years of apprenticeship are over! But where do we go from here? High-quality training in conjunction with subsequent career prospects is still seen as the success formula for tying skilled employees to a company. And how do the young colleagues themselves view this?

At the Annahütte steel mill in Hammerau near Freilassing, Germany the workers’ high skill levels and commitment are regarded as the “foundation for corporate success”. For 475 years Annahütte has been a major employer and economic factor for its region.

The company appreciates long-term cooperation with its employees. And to ensure this cooperation also continues into the future, Annahütte designs its training curricula in an as versatile way as possible and with development potential for each individual. In view of a noticeable decline in applicants the company is interested in taking on apprentices as fully fledged employees once their training period is over.

Photo © Stahlwerk Annahütte

Manuel Thanbichler, a master metal worker, is one of them: "When I started my training as an industrial mechanic 9 years ago, I already knew that after my apprenticeship vocational training in a skilled craft would add to my appeal on the labour market. With the Annahütte steel mill I found a partner willing to support me in my decision to opt for further training. After successfully passing my examination as a master metal worker in 2012 I was given the opportunity to use my newly acquired professional and soft skills in my daily professional life and to meet the versatile challenges."

The Lech steel works, a sister company in the Max Aicher Group of Companies, also invests in its future workforce. Inspired by some school internships, Christian Gebele also opted to become an industrial mechanic.

“This and technical jobs at home aroused my interest in technical skills and mechanical engineering, in particular. There were also alternatives such as fenestration or façade engineering. At the end of the day, however, the great diversity of an industrial mechanic’s job made me opt for this occupation that requires training. The array of activities also includes such areas as electrics, hydraulics, etc. The proximity between my workplace and my hometown admittedly also influenced my decision in favour of this training and LSW.”


His younger colleague Andreas Schuster had already handled machinery and equipment before thanks to his parent’s agricultural unit. The repair work needed back home got him interested in this career early on. He especially appreciates the broad-based nature of the training that Lech Steel Works offer in cooperation with MAN: “Thanks to the diverse training plan MAN and LSW have put together, this training proved very varied and hands-on. It is perfectly geared towards obtaining the journeyman’s certificate. And my very personal expectations were also fulfilled “to my greatest satisfaction,” says Andreas Schuster with a smile.

And Christian Gebele adds: “The dual or sandwich training system customary here consisted of 4 days on-the-job training for us at the works or MAN’s training centre and one day of vocational school. At this school subjects such as assembly modules and maintenance were taught in theory and then explained and demonstrated hands-on on the shop floor. The individual modules are very well coordinated.”

Diversity and practical relevance are also essential at Annahütte when competing for the best brains: Sarah Keßler studied to become a materials tester at the Annahütte Steel Works and is currently completing her Bachelor of Engineering. She says: "I opted for this training since the area of responsibility is very diverse and manifold. After completing the training I started a Bachelor’s programme in Business & Engineering that links business administration with engineering and is very practice-oriented. Here I am able to deepen and widen my previously acquired abilities.”

The Annahütte Steel Works are proud of Sarah Keßler because the 21-year old from Bischofswiesen completed her training in materials testing as the best in this discipline. In 2012 she was recognised for this by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Munich and Northern Bavaria.

© Photo: Annahütte

Recognition for such outstanding achievements always also produces a halo effect for the companies providing the technical training; both companies, however, attach just as much emphasis on the personal development of their young colleagues – for instance, promoting the independent execution of in-house projects. At the Lech steel works the general overhaul of a scrap rail car and the construction of a new depot for crane end carriages, to name but two projects, were on the agenda. The challenge for the apprentices from two years of apprentices was to organise themselves to then cope with the complete planning and execution of the project.

At the Annahütte works 14 trainees in total took part in the project “design sitzt” last year. The task was to design two design benches to be put up as part of the Salzburg Kunstaktion 2012 ( in Salzburg’s Old Town and which now “grace” the entrance area of the Annahütte.

“Our trainees were thrilled to prove their great creative and organisational talents in this project. We are all very proud of the results,” delights CEO Katharina Eisl. Moritz Werner, industrial management trainee and project manager of the group remembers: “The best part of this project was that we were allowed to manage it completely on our own and that it was very varied due to the varied tasks involved. It was fun to work creatively and see the results. To my mind this project was also a great opportunity to get to know the other trainees better.”

Moritz Werner is in his 2nd year of apprenticeship and appreciates his employer especially because he is given the opportunity to complete his academic studies while he is working. “My aim is to have a profession that is challenging and fun and that allows me to have a family. In 5 – 10 years I want to have finished by studies and found my place on the labour market. I could well imagine finding it here at the Annahütte steel works.” He even has his sights on a concrete area of activities already: “My favourite job would be in the area of marketing planning events and advertising campaigns.”

And this is precisely where he is currently “deployed” as part of his training supporting the team actively with his ideas. Yvonne Oertl, who is in charge of marketing, likes this: “We are extremely pleased to have such creative and communicative young talents on our team and would be really happy if Mr Werner chose to stay with us after his training.”

Frank Lindner

- Stahlwerk Annahütte. Our World of Steel
- Stahlwerk Annahütte. Imagefilm
- Lech Stahlwerke. Training
- Lech Stahlwerke. Image film


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