The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), joined by Germany's Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen, celebrated Germany's best trainees in 2010. During the awards ceremony, Patrick Thome (22) from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) came off as winner in the "Printer" category. Thome is the second Heidelberg trainee to win the coveted award in the five years that it has been presented - a Heidelberg trainee also came top in 2007.
Trainees from well over 200 different professions who had achieved top marks in their category in Germany were presented with awards in front of an audience of 1,000 guests in Berlin's Maritim Hotel. All of the winners passed their examinations with an "excellent" grading. As the best graduate trainees in their field in Germany in 2010, they are set for a glittering start to their career and also show other young people positive prospects. Over the past year in Germany, some 3,700 young people trained to be a printer.
"The enthusiasm for printing and print products, the desire to learn something really practical before going to university, and the outstanding reputation of training at Heidelberg were the key factors that encouraged me to apply for a training position at Heidelberg," says Thome.
After completing his secondary education in 2007, Thome spent his three years of training as a printer at the Heidelberg site and then later at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site. His practical training took in all formats - from the predominantly mechanical GTO to the high-tech presses in the Heidelberg portfolio. Among other things, he learned how to operate various presses and use new printing technologies, to work with different printing processes and software applications, and to manufacture printing forms. He also received training in postpress operations and instruction on compliance with health and safety and environmental protection regulations.
In October 2010, Thome began studying for a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) in mechanical engineering at the University of Mannheim.
"We are extremely pleased that Patrick Thome's outstanding achievement marks the second time a Heidelberg trainee has come first in Germany," states Werner Bader, head of vocational training at Heidelberg. "It highlights both the quality of our training and the appeal of our concept to potential applicants."
Heidelberg takes on some 160 new trainees each year in a range of different occupations at the Amstetten, Brandenburg, Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg, Leipzig, and Wiesloch-Walldorf sites. Trainees make up six percent of the workforce.
In addition to full professional training, Heidelberg also offers committed young people a range of special training models that prepare them for more in-depth training courses. For example, the company offers qualified high school students the option of completing an entrance qualification for a university of applied sciences (UAS) in parallel to their vocational training. Heidelberg also provides support in the form of a trainee program for selected trainees who already have their high-school leaving certificate or UAS entrance qualifications and who wish to take up studies in a discipline such as mechanical or industrial engineering.