Audi - advantage through training

Audi Germany's car industry has long been seen by Germans and foreigners alike as the ultimate symbol of the country's efficiency. BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Audi market different kinds of car. But the emphasis on efficiency and reliability is one thing that they have in common.

Audi builds more than half a million cars a year. In the Bavarian town of Ingolstadt, they have built a state of the art car factory, which is the size of a small town. Audi is by far the biggest local employer and as car manufacturing needs skilled workers Audi, like other German companies, ensures a steady supply of such skills. It runs enormously complex apprenticeship schemes - for "Azubis", an abbreviation of the word "Auszubildende", literally meaning those who are to be trained.

All over Germany, companies take on school leavers and teach them how they want their products to be made. Stefanie Josef, a second-year apprentice in the paintshop, left school at 17 and looked at various departments to see what work she would enjoy most. Her classes include not just artistic techniques - including airbrushing, for example - but also more general parts of a school curriculum, from religion and maths to literature.

These schemes are expensive, but Audi, who take on around 700 new apprentices every year, believe the advantages are clear. In the words of Heike Klein, who is responsible for Stefanie and other trainees: "This system will remain in place for the future." But the past successes of the German economy are being increasingly questioned in a competitive, globalised world. German costs are much higher than in other countries, with a whole range of social benefits that would seem unthinkable in Britain or elsewhere in Europe.

Links:

Audi
Information about the company and career opportunities. In English.

Work Centre Germany
Work Centre Germany website, with information and advice on traineeship. In German.

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