Spanish apprentices gain full time employment 12 Apr 2018

Herrenknecht News Release

Six young Spanish apprentices have been offered positions at Herrenknecht after successfully completing their dual vocational training as industrial mechanics at its Schwanau Headquarters in Germany.

Apprentices now employed at Herrenknecht
Apprentices now employed at Herrenknecht

The apprenticeships, run through a funding programme by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, started in September 2014. The special European Union program aims to ensure the supply of skilled manpower in Germany and to contribute to reducing the high level of youth unemployment in Spain.

Starting their apprenticeships away from home and in a foreign language was challenging for the Spaniards, but they settled in well, found their own apartments and friends in the region, are active in local clubs and now feel at home and are embracing the opportunity of a future career at Herrenknecht.

Jon Alvarez Svescun, aged 23, Mikel Lasa Apeztegia and Daniel Fernandez Sanchez, both aged 31, finished their training last summer as it was shortened to three years.

Daniel Fernandez Sanchez with two TBMs for Los Angeles
Daniel Fernandez Sanchez with two TBMs for Los Angeles

"I thought it would be much colder here in Germany," said Jon Alvarez Svescun. Instead the Ortenau landscape reminds him of his Spanish homeland near Navarre. Since being taken on full-time, Jon has been working in the area of drive and augers assembly for smaller utility machines.

"What I found particularly good about the apprenticeship was that all the trainers always took the time to answer questions and explain everything exactly," said Daniel Fernandez Sanchez. "We received a lot of help from teachers, work colleagues and Head of Training Klaus Himmelsbach."

Spanish-speaking Herrenknecht employee Paloma Nieto helped with translation during lessons although the Spanish trainees were required to learn German to follow technical instructions.

The vocational training School, the German Employees Academy (DAA) in Lahr divided the class to provide the best support for non-German speaking apprentices. In addition to technical lessons, trainees were offered integration programs such as group leisure activities or company visits, and offered special exam preparation assistance.

Practical experience gained in the training workshop
Practical experience gained in the training workshop

The EU-supported trainees also benefited from additional teaching units in German and job-related technical knowledge.

"The intensive support of foreign-language trainees was a big challenge. It was, however, a great and very intensive time for all of us and we are glad that all six of them have successfully completed their apprenticeship," said Doris Adler from the DAA.

"It is still incredible for me to be here. I come to work every day very satisfied," said 24-year-old Alberto Salvarria Munoz. "I would be happy to be sent to Spanish jobsites as well."

Herrenknecht trains about 160 apprentices every year at the Schwanau premises which include a 2,000m2 training workshop equipped with state-of-the-art machinery. It is keen to support international junior staff and recently trained five refugees from Syria, Gambia and Guinea.


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