Sustainability Report 2019/2020

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Creating tomorrow’s solutions

Vocational Training

Skilled, committed workers keep WACKER innovative and competitive. We offer our employees a favorable foundation for exploiting their potential and further developing their skills – beginning with vocational training all the way to a variety of advanced training options. There are training and incentives programs available for each qualification and career move.

Trainees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020

 

2019

 

2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of new trainees1

 

187

 

201

 

191

Number of all trainees (all phases)1

 

625

 

618

 

599

Number of apprentices graduating

 

174

 

175

 

185

Of whom hired by WACKER on completion of training2

 

140

 

148

 

157

Total number of employees in retraining

 

 

 

Trainees/retrainees as a percentage of total WACKER Germany employees1

 

5.8

 

5.6

 

5.5

1

Number in 2020 as of December 31, 2020 (in the non-financial report 2020 as of September 30, 2020).

2

In most cases where an apprentice was not hired, this was the apprentice’s wish – for example, because they are continuing their education at college or university.

Vocational training is a key component of WACKER’s personnel development activities. We provide training at the Burghausen, Nünchritz, Stetten, Halle, Cologne 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 vocational training, but also retraining and advanced training for young people and experienced staff. Well known beyond the local area, the center believes that its responsibility extends to providing training to non-WACKER staff from 20 partner companies. In 2020, 187 trainees started courses at the BBiW (2019: 201). BBiW courses cover 24 vocations.

After graduating, trainees have a good chance of finding employment. In the reporting period, WACKER offered jobs to all suitable trainees who were interested in joining the company.

The BBiW’s vocational training is complemented by eight work/study programs to bachelor level: business administration, business IT, computer engineering, computer science, engineering management, international business, electrical engineering and process engineering. Here, 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.

We offer high-quality training courses and our trainees are highly competent. Regularly, some of these young people graduate with top marks. In 2019 and 2020, 63 of our trainees achieved a grade of 1.5 (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the best) or higher. Among them was Kevin Till, who trained as a chemical laboratory technician at the Nünchritz site and was the top graduate of all of Saxony in 2019. In the same year, apprentices Lukas Kimberger, Luca Maier and Marvin Ziegler came first in their respective disciplines in Germany’s long-standing “Young Welders” competition. Firefighter Daniel Leipold came top of his class in his IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) final exam to qualify as a fire safety specialist in 2019. Plant mechanic Jennifer Ebner and Elias Hofer, electronics technician for automation technology, were Bavaria’s top graduates in 2020.

Our Burghausen and Nünchritz sites have received an IHK quality seal as outstanding vocational training centers. During the reporting period, a study conducted by the financial magazine “Capital” and the talent platform “Ausbildung.de” ranked us among Germany’s best vocational training companies.

Digital Vocational Training

The Burghausen Vocational Training Center (BBiW) is using digital communication tools and practice-oriented teaching units in order to continue its courses amid the pandemic, as many instructors are working from home due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Similarly, the center’s apprentices and trainees are studying from home with digital tools.

The BBiW had already put digital education to the test before the pandemic. With their HoloLens (3D goggles) and tablets, trainees can monitor processes in production facilities. Using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), chemical and engineering trainees learn how to deploy digital processes and test their skills with a virtual welding simulator.

In September 2019, at the start of the training year, the BBiW supplied tablets not only to WACKER’s new commercial trainees, but also to apprentices in the fields of chemistry, electrical engineering and metalworking. With their tablets, they can download educational software, digital textbooks and practical applications. Trainers can upload online exercises, schedules and instructions. Apprentices and trainees with questions about courses or course material can simply contact an instructor or fellow trainee online. This virtual world functions from home, too.

Discussions, exchanges and feedback amongst trainees and with their instructors is a key success factor for teaching activities. That’s why the BBiW team enables communication via virtual meetings. The instructors offer learning support, post course material, chat directly with trainees and work on files with them online. They are making it a priority to offer intensive support for any trainees preparing for final exams during the pandemic. Instructors set assignments with clear deadlines, for example, correct the returned work, and send it back with additional comments.

External participants from partner companies can join the courses and training events, too. During the period under review, the BBiW gathered a lot of inspiration and ideas for its digital future. Once the pandemic is over, the center’s team does not want to go without the new options for fast and easy communication, for providing course material and for chat sessions. The rapid pace of digitalization creates new career challenges, especially in the areas of production and engineering. During their training, these young specialists learn how to work with digital media and interconnected IT systems – thus becoming ideally qualified.

Graduate Trainee Program

In fall 2019, the third generation of graduate trainees since resumption of the program in 2016 started with six graduates of chemistry, process engineering, electrical engineering, logistics, mechanical engineering and biotechnology. The graduate trainee cycle that had began in 2018 completed their 18-month program in chemistry, sales and digitalization in 2020. These six graduates got to know the job profiles covered by the departments to which they were assigned and were specifically prepared for future employment with our company. Five of them have decided to continue their careers at WACKER.