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Three Volkswagen Group apprentices among the best in Germany

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) to honour Germany’s best apprentices: Three talents of the Volkswagen Group are among the winners.

On the 3rd of December, three talents of the Volkswagen Group are being honoured by Dr. Eric Schweitzer, President of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for their outstanding accomplishments: They are Germany’s best apprentices in their specific fields of work.

Every year, more than 300,000 apprentices pass the final examination at the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. On the basis of the overall grade, the 200 best apprentices nationwide, are determined. Karolin Janson, Sebastian Sauer and Florian Weinert completed their apprenticeships at group brands MAN and Volkswagen with distinction.

"The awards for our best apprentices across the country represent the first-class dual vocational training within the Volkswagen Group," says Ralph Linde, Head of the Volkswagen Group Academy in Berlin. "Stay curious, creative and open to new technologies. Digitisation and networking, electromobility and autonomous driving characterise our industry. The willingness to learn for life is a solid foundation for your professional and economic success at Volkswagen."

What exactly our top apprentices are doing at the Volkswagen Group, how they got into their profession and what the future holds – Let us introduce them. 

Brief portrait: The IHK winner 2018

Karoline Janson (23), Technical model builder
MAN Energy Solutions SE, Augsburg

Karoline Janson is among the best apprentices in Germany

The 23-year-old works as a technical model builder at MAN Energy Solutions. On the basis of construction drawings, she builds foundry models made from wood, plastic and synthetic resin. These are then used to make the moulds for the large engine blocks or components. This longstanding interest in craftsmanship and technology was firmly sealed, during an internship. “After my internship at IHK Augsburg, I knew that I wanted to do some form of practical apprenticeship, preferably working with wood,” Karoline explains. In search of a suitable apprenticeship in an industrial field, she inevitably came across MAN Energy Solutions, one of the largest employers in the region. With her diploma, she could have shortened her vocational training, but decided to follow the whole three-and-a-half-year course – and did not regret it: “I wanted as much practical experience as possible. That’s why, after completing my basic training, I wanted to stay as long as possible in the technical department.”

Her next target? In September, she started an accompanying course of engineering studies at the Technical Academy in Esslingen, so she will remain in the company for at least another four and a half years. “If I ever get tired of my work as an engineer in the long-term, I know that I have a profession to go back to that I really enjoy.”  

Florian Weinert (22), manufacturing mechanics
Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH

Florian Weinert is among the best apprentices in Germany

Florian Weinert works as a production mechanic at Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH. “Since I was a little boy, I knew that I wanted to work in a technical field one day. I used to screw mopeds together with my father, with the enthusiasm for motor vehicles pretty much being engrained in me while I was still lying in my cot."

After graduating from high school, the 22-year-old then informed himself specifically about training opportunities at Volkswagen Osnabrück: "I really wanted to join Volkswagen as, the top employer in the region, in order to learn something practical. That's why I decided to train as a production mechanic. I still find it exciting to turn individual parts into functional assemblies today."

Florian Weinert, who likes to tinker with his car in his spare time, describes his next big goal as: "I'm currently working in cockpit pre-assembly. I would like to study mechanical engineering while working and later become a design engineer at Volkswagen Osnabrück." Just as determined as with his training, he also tackles this project: "After work, I prepare myself for my studies with specialist literature. And next year I would like to take part in taster lectures at the university."

Sebastian Sauer (33), Metal cutting machine operator
MAN Academy, Salzgitter

Sebastian Sauer is among the best apprentices in Germany

Sebastian Sauer is a cutting machine operator at the MAN Academy in Salzgitter. Sebastian Sauer reflects on his training as a machining mechanic with, "full commitment from the very beginning". He was motivated by the good training performance of his little brother, who also learned cutting tool mechanics at MAN. Sebastian Sauer already said during his interview that he wanted to surpass that result. The 33-year-old junior employee went on to do precisely that, as Germany's best machining mechanic.

The previously trained printer had initial reservations about going back to school. "It was easier for me than I thought. I think that age and experience compensate for a lot. Then there was the work with machines, the CNC control, the combination of mental performance and manual work - that's what I like," laughs Sauer. Above all, he likes the variety and technical challenges in his job.

The down-to-earth young man feels very attached to his company. Sebastian Sauer remembers with pleasure: "The great, family relationship among us apprentices and the trainers having had a strong influence on the training period for me.” But he still wants to progress: since October 2018, he has been attending the master school during shifts. Three times a week, before or after work, he attends college. If everything goes according to plan, he will be an industrial master of his profession in two years.