Berlin, December 9, 2019. The Maritim Hotel’s large ballroom fills with thunderous applause as 206 young people from all over Germany take the stage. These aren’t just any young people – they’re vocational trainees. Or rather, they were, because they all passed the final exam in their respective training program – as the best in Germany. And among them is Arne Bischoff, process mechanic at Waelzholz.
He loves tricky situations. Solving problems is what drives him. This curiosity to truly understand technical concepts was evident in every aspect of his vocational training. And it paid off – in June 2019, Arne Bischoff passed his final exam in the training program entitled “Process mechanic in the metallurgical and semi-finished products industry, with a specialization in steel forming” with the best grade nationwide. On December 9, 2019, he was honored for his outstanding achievement at the national award ceremony held by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). According to Bischoff: “I never expected this at all. All of a sudden I got an e-mail from our company management telling me that I got the best grade in the country. That was pretty awesome. And then I even got to go to Berlin for the award ceremony and stand on stage in front of about 1,000 guests.”
The top trainees received their awards after a speech by German Federal Minister of Education Anja Karlizcek. DIHK President Dr. Eric Schweitzer took the opportunity to congratulate each of the 206 award winners individually on stage. “That was a very special experience. The location and atmosphere were very celebratory. Barbara Schöneberger guided the audience through the evening in her own refreshing way and kept everyone on their toes. All of the studying was worth it just for this evening alone,” says Bischoff, grinning.
One company, many career prospects
The profession that 22-year-old Arne Bischoff chose to train for at Waelzholz in Hagen is now known as process engineering. This field of study involves understanding the production processes associated with the rolling, slitting, and heat treatment lines, and setting up the machines with the utmost precision. According to Bischoff: “The main focus of the training is learning how metal behaves during forming, i.e. rolling, and how the production lines have to be adjusted so that the steel material ultimately has the properties that the customer ordered. Like having a certain level of tensile strength, for example.” In addition to training as a process engineer, Waelzholz offers six additional training programs at its German facilities: Electronics technician, IT specialist, industrial management assistant, industrial technician, materials tester, and cutting machine operator.
In addition to the purely technical skills, the young people at Waelzholz are also taught values that have always defined the Waelzholz team: fairness and team spirit, a sense of responsibility, and enthusiasm – as well as perseverance. Marco Luciani, manager vocational training, is always there to help those launching their careers at Waelzholz: “We’re looking for young people who enjoy learning new things and then putting what they’ve learned into practice. After completing their vocational training, they can join the team as either a skilled worker or an administrative assistant, and can also develop their skills in a variety of ways. We offer a positive environment with a structured training plan and motivated employees who are committed to teaching these young people. Together with the right level of ambition, which the trainees should also possess, this provides a solid foundation for a bright future career.”