Vocational Training

Vocational training is the first step 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 in 1969. 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 18 partner companies. In 2014, 58 trainees from these companies started courses at the BBiW (2013: 53).

BBiW courses cover 18 vocations and six 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 2014, 176 young people started training at WACKER or the BBiW (2013: 185). In total, the company employed 635 trainees, slightly fewer than a year earlier (2013: 664) – with 541 (2013: 564) in scientific and technical disciplines and 94 (2013: 111) in business administration. After graduating, they have a good chance of finding employment. In 2014, WACKER offered jobs to the majority of suitable trainees – 162 graduates – hiring 111 of them temporarily and 51 permanently. In 2013, 124 graduates were offered permanent positions.

At 4.9 percent, the 2014 percentage of trainees (ratio of trainees to Group employees in Germany) was slightly below the previous year’s level (2013: 5.2 percent). The BBiW’s vocational training is complemented by work/study programs to bachelor level: business administration, business IT, applied IT, engineering management, 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, Heidenheim and Stuttgart, which specialize in work/study programs.

The BBiW intensified its marketing efforts targeting high school students during the reporting period to counteract the decline in applicant numbers resulting from demographic change. The training center thus revamped its website and invested in advertising on public buses. It also invited its trainees to participate in tradeshows and school visits to provide high school students with first-hand accounts of life on the job.

The high quality of BBiW’s training is evidenced by all the awards won by its trainees. The Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria named a chemical technician and a logistics clerk the best of the class of 2013. At the German Skills competition, an electrical installer and an electronics and instrumentation systems technician qualified for World Skills 2013 in Leipzig and were presented with the “Excellence” medal for their achievements. In 2014, 31 trainees completed their training with the highest possible grade, and their accomplishment was recognized by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The Nünchritz site has produced Saxony’s best trainee chemical technician for the third time in succession.

Welding to the Top

At the top of Bavarian welding: Carmen Niedermeier.

Young WACKER welders from the Burghausen Vocational Training Center (BBiW) delivered an outstanding performance at the 2013 Bavarian “Young Welders” competition, obtaining three gold and two silver medals. At the SLV welding institute in Munich, young people aged between 16 and 23 displayed their skills.

In the “novice welders” skill-level class, eleven teenagers under 19 years of age competed in four categories. The young craftsmen had to pass a theoretical exam, and prove their skill in welding fillet and butt welds. Three WACKER trainees successfully sent the sparks flying: Sabrina Hufnagl went right to the top of the winners’ podium as Bavaria’s top gas welder, Carmen Niedermeier came second in the TIG welding category, and Andreas Hechemer achieved second place in manual arc welding.

The intense competition preparations at the BBiW also paid off for two WACKER colleagues who participated in the under 23 age group: Tobias Schmid took gold in MAG welding and Lukas Spitzendobler won the gas welding category. Both of them qualified for the national competition in Essen.

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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. Four university graduates completed the program in 2013. WACKER launched this trainee program back in 1997; since then, 79 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.