Modern Machine Shop

JUL 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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MMS JULY 2018 74 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPING SHOPFLOOR TALENT: Why "Vocational" Is Not a Dirty Word in Europe Employing apprentices is a smart move because they can be trained to develop exactly the skills and knowledge your company wants them to have. But how do you find these apprentices, and why does this concept work better in some countries than in others? A closer look at the German system reveals some insights. It is a challenging time for manufacturers when it comes to workforce development; finding people with the right skills is very often close to impossible, so sometimes the only option is to develop talent in house. Many people from the United States and other countries ask me to tell them more about Germany's successful appren- ticeship-program model and why it seems to be so hard to replicate it. To answer this question, we have to shed some light on why manufacturing is more appealing to (young) people there than in many other coun- tries, including the United States. Part of the story involves history and culture. Germany's industrial power was built on a core of family-owned businesses, many of which date back to the 19th century and often operate out of small towns. They plan for the long term, pride themselves on quality and see themselves as having social obligations to the local community. These companies thrived in the decades immedi- ately after 1945, when the economy boomed as a BARBARA SCHULZ | EUROPEAN CONSULTANT According to Werner Drexel, manager of the mechanical training department for Grob in Mindelheim, Germany, the machine tool builder not only is interested in recruiting potential trainees or apprentices, but also is committed to conveying an interest in technology, manufacturing and skills to students in secondary education.

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