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Company News, 2010-10-05, 10:04 AM

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG offers ‘Springboard’ into working life: Training project for technically gifted secondary school students in Duisburg

Experience shows that it is difficult for lower secondary school students, especially those with an immigrant background, to find a good apprenticeship place. However, Germany’s biggest steel producer, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG, has been specifically targeting students like these for three years in a dedicated support program: “Our ‘Springboard’ project is an attempt to identify keen, technically gifted youngsters while they are still at school and enthuse them for an industrial/technical apprenticeship,” explains Dr. Rudolf Carl Meiler, head of recruiting and personnel development at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. “At the same time, ‘Springboard’ underlines our commitment to training and to social responsibility in the region.”

‘Springboard’ works like this: Specially trained teachers at all 17 lower secondary schools in Duisburg identify students who display a strong interest in technical matters. Once these students have reached year ten and shown the ability to earn their school-leaving certificate, they are personally invited by the company to attend an information session about the program. Afterwards they can apply in writing to take part in the program. A total of 40 hand-picked students, split into groups of ten, then complete a one-week work experience placement during which they get to know the company and are closely monitored by trainers. After the one-week work experience, the ‘springboarders’ receive several weeks of job application coaching, team training and extra mathematics practice; they also have the opportunity to take part in an in-depth tour of the works. In January the students are tested on their newly acquired and refreshed knowledge. If they pass the test and do well in a subsequent interview, they receive one of the coveted apprenticeship places.

“All the experience we’ve had with Springboard has been very good,” says Volker Grigo, head of technical apprenticeship training at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. “The project has already unearthed some very promising apprentices.” A total of 27 springboarders are currently completing an apprenticeship at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe – the first apprentices from the program were recruited in 2009. Preparations are currently underway for recruitment in 2011.

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