Johnson Matthey’s site at Redwitz in Germany, which makes emission control catalysts, has been training apprentices for 60 years...
Every year in September around 12 apprentices enter the programme which lasts from two to three and a half years, depending on the discipline. At any one time, some 35 apprentices are being trained.
So What can the Young Apprentice Expect at Redwitz?
First, there is good supervision. A team of five supervisors – two of them full time – guide and mentor the young people through the programme. Some elements of the programme remain constant – their worth has been proved over time – while new elements are introduced as and when needed. The team of supervisors also serve on various committees of the regional Chamber of Commerce and lead an external apprenticeship programme for other companies. Through these contacts, the programme remains open to new thinking on apprenticeships and what should be taught.
The apprentices learn the basics in a modern industrial workshop or 'lehrwerkstatt'. They also gain experience of their chosen discipline. Practical work is combined with theory, and academic study takes place on site in a training room where e-learning modules are available. The importance of English as a global language is recognised, and English language teaching is provided.
Personal and social skills are an essential part of the repertoire of a well rounded professional. So over the course of the programme, the apprentices are sent on residential courses to develop presentation and communication capabilities. Each apprentice will attend two of these week long courses, which are much liked: there are workshops and team building exercises, with plenty of action and fun.
So What Happens at the End of the Apprenticeship Programme?
The programme is certified by the regional Chamber of Commerce and the successful apprentice will receive a formal qualification on graduating. There are various career opportunities within Johnson Matthey; its departments are always interested in apprentices who have trained on site. They find interesting and challenging jobs in the Technology Centre or in the manufacturing departments on site.
But it is the bigger picture that proves the success of the scheme. Now in its 60th year, the programme has trained more than 500 apprentices. Currently, 120 former apprentices are working in different functions at Johnson Matthey in Redwitz, about 20 of them in management positions. Many others are working in two local companies on the Redwitz industrial park, which had been part of the local legal entity during past decades. By investing in future employees in this way, the site is building a sustainable workforce and providing benefits to the local community.