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Inspiring apprentice projects

It was a special day at the end of May at the HORSCH headquarters in Schwandorf when the apprentices of the sites Schwandorf, Ronneburg and Landau finally presented the drift bikes they built within the scope of an apprentice project. Even a film crew of the ZDF (a German public-service television broadcaster) was present at the big finale.

In January the project Drift Bike was advertised and those apprentices who wanted could take part. Only some framework conditions were prescribed, otherwise there were no limits on creativity. All three sites built great, completely different bikes. The idea of the project was to offer the young apprentices the opportunity to organise themselves and to plan and carry out a project completely on their own. “This is very important today. We do no longer want old structures where the apprentices work to rule. With these projects they learn how they can push themselves and their project further, to help each other if problems occur and they establish new contacts throughout the company. This will be very helpful later in their job.“, Steffen Besserer, Corporate Culture, explains. The drift bikes had to be built in approx. three months. However, the apprentices faced some problems right at the beginning as some spare parts were delivered later than scheduled. “Thirty years ago, apprenticeship was only about providing job-specific knowledge. Today our approach is completely different. We want our apprentices to develop and to learn to solve problems on their own. In this respect, a merely job-specific knowledge is no longer enough. Due to the project they got to know the processes that are behind building a bike. They learned how to coordinate things, to purchase parts, to calculate etc”, Anton Grauvogl, head of vocational training, explains. Among others, the look of the bikes, driving a through a course as well as the longest drift were part of the evaluation. The management, too, was impressed and insisted on taking a ride on the bikes.

Another project also shows the social commitment of the apprentices from Schwandorf. Under the motto HORSCHhelps they equipped a container for the children of the Forrest Kindergarten nearby. The apprentices built small tables and benches. They now want to pursue this idea and equip further containers for children from poorer regions, not only in Germany.

Such a commitment even attracted a film crew from the ZDF. They came to Schwandorf for the finale of the competition and filmed for the series “Working life today”. Thus, HORSCH was able to show how well the network structure that was introduced last year works within the company and also across all sites. When the program is broadcasted in autumn you can see what the HORSCH apprentices got going.