Vocational Training

Vocational training has always been a mainstay of personnel development at WACKER. Training takes place at the Burghausen, Nünchritz, Freiberg and Munich sites in Germany.

The principal facility is the Burghausen Vocational Training Center (BBiW), which was established by WACKER. The BBiW offers not only initial/advanced vocational training and retraining to young people, but also courses for experienced staff. Well known beyond the local area, the center believes that its responsibility extends to providing training to non-WACKER staff from some 20 partner companies. In 2012, 56 trainees from these companies thus started courses at the BBiW (2011: 59).

BBiW courses cover 16 vocations and five work/study programs to bachelor degree level. The main focus is on the scientific and technical jobs typically encountered in the chemical, electrical and metalworking sectors. In 2012, 205 young people started training at WACKER or the BBiW (2011: 202). In total, the company employed 657 trainees, roughly the same as a year earlier (2011: 655) – with 555 (2011: 560) in scientific and technical disciplines and 102 (2011: 95) in business administration. After graduating, they have a good chance of finding employment. We offered permanent jobs to most of our suitable and interested trainees. In 2012, a total of 174 graduates were offered jobs at WACKER (2011: 178).

At 4.9 percent, the percentage of trainees (number of trainees to Group employees in Germany) was at the previous year’s high level (2011: 4.9 percent). The BBiW’s vocational training is complemented by work/study programs to bachelor level: business IT, engineering management, business administration, electrical engineering and process engineering. In these courses, study at a vocational education institute alternates with quarterly practical phases. For these courses of study, WACKER collaborates with the universities of Mannheim and Heidenheim, which specialize in work/study programs. In autumn 2011, the first electrical engineering majors were awarded their bachelor degrees.

The BBiW’s high quality of training is evidenced by all the awards won by trainees. In 2011, a WACKER trainee won a German electronics competition. A chemical lab technician and a chemical technician completed their final examinations as the best trainees in their field in Bavaria. In 2012, WACKER trainees Michael Hinteraicher and Michael Langer took the first and second prizes at the German WorldSkills Competition, in the categories of electrical installation and electrical equipment. They thus qualified for the international WorldSkills Competition.

Saxony’s Best Chemical Technician Comes from WACKER

Bester Chemikant Sachsens kommt von WACKER (Foto)

Vincent Lehmann insists that he is not a nerd – his grade point average in his German school-leaving certificate (“Abitur”) was just a middling 2.9. In the chemical technician exam, however, he achieved the best result, with 95 out of 100 possible points. Looking back, Lehmann felt he could have gotten even more points if he had studied more.

The 23-year-old mainly attributes his excellent result to the fact that chemistry in general, and his training, in particular, are simply great fun. He said he didn’t know if he has the “chemistry gene,” but commented that “My grandfather taught natural sciences. Maybe that’s where I get my interest.” His grandparents live only 200 meters away from the Nünchritz plant and had always hoped that Vincent would enter the vocational training program there. When they heard that he had even become Saxony’s best chemical technician, they were moved to tears.

Vincent Lehmann has definite goals for his future career: “I have started the Bachelor’s program in process engineering, and would like to work as a plant support engineer.”

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In 2011, WACKER entered into a partnership with Chattanooga State Community College, near our new polysilicon site in Charleston, Tennessee. The WACKER INSTITUTE was set up directly on the college campus and offers vocational training in four disciplines: mechanical systems technicians, electronics and instrumentation systems technicians, process technicians (chemical operators), and chemical laboratory technicians. WACKER has donated $3 million to support the certified, practice-oriented training at the WACKER INSTITUTE. Its graduates are given preference for jobs at the new site. When polysilicon production starts on schedule in mid-2015, we plan to take on approximately 500 new production employees, every one of them with an excellent educational background.

University graduates can join WACKER’s 18-month General Management Trainee Program (GTP). The program has an excellent reputation. This is also evidenced by the high number of qualified applicants. In both 2011 and 2012, four university graduates participated in the program. WACKER launched this trainee program back in 1997; since then, 75 graduates have completed management training. After an orientation phase, the trainees work for three to six months on various projects that often involve periods spent abroad.

Karriereförderundes & faires Trainee-Programm (Logo)

Together with some 20 other German companies, WACKER received a seal of approval for its management trainee program from ABSOLVENTA (an online job board). Specializing in placing young university graduates, this internet portal recognizes companies which operate particularly fair and well-organized trainee programs. The evaluation included such aspects as whether compensation is appropriate, whether the trainees have spent periods abroad, and whether the program forms part of a targeted executive development strategy.