Sweeten the life of the machines: #ChallengeAccepted
Industrial mechanics are true detectives.
If a machine stops during operation, they are called and make sure that everything is running smoothly again soon. During their apprenticeship they learn everything about drilling, turning and milling of steel and as metal professionals they take care of the maintenance and repair of industrial plants and machines.
By checking and measuring, they look for faults, correct malfunctions and then arrange for the machine to be put back into operation. Michael Hanke, a prospective industrial mechanic, is in his second year of apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe’s technical center in Duisburg.
How many applications did you have to write after school before you got an apprenticeship here?
I sent out 15 applications and was totally happy when thyssenkrupp finally accepted my application. My parents are also very happy with my choice. After all, my uncle already worked at thyssenkrupp, so I always wanted to do my apprenticeship here. I already applied two years earlier, but it was only in 2018 that I managed to get my second chance.
And was it worth the wait?
Definitely. I couldn’t have made it any better. The vocational trainers are simply top-notch. They don’t just teach us the theory, but stand with us at the workbench and show us exactly how everything works. For example, it’s much easier and faster for me to learn how to cut manually and mechanically.
With which school qualification can I apply here?
It starts with the lower secondary school leaving certificate and ends with the A-level. I myself have the technical secondary school leaving certificate with qualification. Depending on personal and professional aptitude, many people go even further after the apprenticeship. One can qualify as a technician or master craftsman or add a dual course of study.
What was the interview like for you in retrospect?
Of course I wanted to do everything right and therefore I was very nervous. But I worried about it for nothing. Everyone was super nice and relaxed. The aptitude test was neither too difficult nor too easy. You definitely don’t have to be afraid of it.
What are the tasks of an industrial mechanic?
Roughly speaking, you could say that we are concerned with maintaining and restoring the operational readiness of machines and systems. They are inspected, maintained and repaired by us. And what I find particularly inspiring: you don’t have to wait weeks to see the results of your work.
Is this also a profession for women?
We currently have only one woman in our year of apprenticeship. That’s a pity, because the job offers a lot of variety. The job can be physically demanding, but nowadays there are many aids that make it easier. Long fingernails are perhaps not so advisable, but otherwise there is no reason for women not to learn this profession.
How are things at school?
Also good. Besides mathematics, English and German, there are even sports lessons. Of course, the main subjects are metallurgy, occupational safety, pneumatic and hydraulic circuits, control engineering and the proper use of materials and supplies.
What do you think is special about the apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp Steel?
The comprehensive range of occupational health and safety training is remarkable. For example, we receive training in fire protection and first aid twice a year. But thyssenkrupp also invests heavily in machinery. We always work with the latest tools and modern machines. The apprenticeship compensation is also more than adequate.
What has changed as a result of the corona crisis?
We were all immediately in the home office and were given tasks to do. There was a video chat every morning and so we were always kept up to date.
thyssenkrupp in one word?