Before I started the apprenticeship I completed the ‘Fachhochschulreife’, which is the entry qualification for college or a polytechnic, reading in Business and Administration. During my last years at school I realised that working in an office really wasn’t for me and that I much more enjoyed hands-on work.
I always heard people talking about Outokumpu VDM; be it neighbours, friends or acquaintances, many of them working at the Group, so that I was quite aware of the opportunities both in the metal industry as a whole and at Outokumpu VDM in particular. Among others, the Group had always been my preferred choice being a global company that does not only offer many different apprenticeship schemes, but also plenty of opportunity for progress. It didn’t take me long to know that I wanted to apply for an apprenticeship as Industrial Mechanic at Outokumpu VDM.
Following a successful application I attended the assessment centre, equally successful, and subsequently I was invited for an interview. Despite being nervous and some times feeling a bit unsure during the interview I was offered to begin my training to the entry date August 2008. After long weeks of anticipation I finally started as apprentice in Industrial Mechanics on 1st August 2008.
There was no better way to start my time at Outokumpu VDM than the Training Orientation Days. Five days at Sorpesee (Lake Sorpe) together with all the other newbies starting on 1st August. Travelling with us were two 3rd year apprentices and our trainers Jens Echterhage and Gustav Grennigloh. The Training Orientation Days were great for getting to know each other, hence giving way for great teamwork at the Apprentices Training Centre. At the end of the Orientation Days we visited Outokumpu VDM’s production sites in Werdohl, Altena and Unna.
Soon after we started in the Apprentices Training Centre where we were allocated workbenches and received a first set of protective clothing. After that folders were handed out with details on our work schedules, and including drawings, and general information on the making of an assist device, which is one of the basic components to be produced to qualify as Industrial Mechanic. Other skills that must be mastered are e.g. filing, drilling, turning and cutting – all basic skills to make an assist device. Our specialist trainers also hold regular handicraft lectures that more than once gave us that little advantage in College. The first year at work is exclusively spent in the Apprentices Training Centre with the focus on acquiring the essential practical skills.
The 2nd year then finally meant going into Manufacturing. I started working in the Maintenance & Locksmithery. Every morning all staff of our department would be allocated to a specific area, such as the rolling mill, wire production, or the 20-roller. In addition to the day-to-day supervision we would carry out emergency repairs and general maintenance as and when required at the production units. What makes the job interesting for me is that it’s never the same; there is always something different to be repaired, replaced, or improved.
Three months before the interim exam we returned to the Apprentices Training Centre to prepare for the exams. We received tuition from our trainers and were given valuable tips both for the practical and the theoretical exams; we were able to obtain answers to all potential questions and did various drills to prepare for the exam itself.
After the interim exam we returned to ‘our’ department. Thanks to my good results in the final exams I was offered a permanent opportunity in the Maintenance & Locksmithery.
I like working at Outokumpu VDM.
After my training I was given permanent jobs in the blacksmith shop at the Unna.