Starting training with teambuilding
In September and October 2014, 25 trainees and students started their training at Dieffenbacher, the system manufacturer from Eppingen. From 3 to 5 September, the new arrivals got to know each other and appreciate each other as team members in the team building workshop in Althütte.
Dieffenbacher is a fifth-generation family-owned company in Eppingen. The concept of family does not only apply to descendants of the company founder — many of the employees are following in the footsteps of their parents. This is the case, for example, with Lukas Lechner (16), who has always enjoyed and been interested in electronics. This year he will start his training as an electronics technician for industrial equipment.
A total of 25 trainees and students will start work at Dieffenbacher this year. They will be learning apprentice trades ranging from mechatronic engineer to studying commercial information technology at the Cooperative State University. These 25 trainees and students also include six young women. The wide range of apprentice trades and training reflects Dieffenbacher as an attractive employer and training company.
The trainees and students came to Dieffenbacher in several different ways: from the Sinsheim apprenticeship exchange, to events as part of the school collaboration and parental ties with Dieffenbacher. Johanna Bertsch (18) will start her cooperative studies in mechanical engineering in September. "I was attracted to the combination of theory and practice," she says. She chose her apprenticeship after taking part in the Junior Academy and an open day at Heilbronn University. "It was the cooperative study model that I particularly liked," the student explains. "For me it is more appealing than the dual degree program with three-month blocks."
"What most attracted me to Dieffenbacher was the versatility. I like the combination of technology and business," says Norbert Botesch (19), a dual student at Dieffenbacher since October. After leaving secondary school, he went on to attend the Wirtschaftsgymnasium (commercial academic grammar school) in Öhringen. Now he is studying commercial engineering at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Mosbach; he will receive his practical training at Dieffenbacher. The chances for a future at Dieffenbacher are good for him, as well as for the other new arrivals who are starting their vocational training at the system manufacturer from Eppingen. Most trainees will be taken on as employees. It is therefore all the more important to encourage them from the outset, to deploy them according to their abilities and inclinations, and to reinforce team spirit.
The orientation week is an introduction to Dieffenbacher. After a welcome, the facility and the workplace are introduced, formalities are completed, and then team building begins straight away. The three-day workshop is held in Althütte-Lutzenberg. Teams were formed right from the start. This was done in the form of role play. How do the new arrivals see themselves in a team? More as doers, as supporters or as intermediaries? The workshop participants decided on one of the roles for themselves and wrote it on a card, with their name on the back. The identity of the members was only revealed after the teams were formed. "The division was relatively clear from the outset", reports Lukas Lechner. "But I still wouldn't tie myself down to a specific role — that depends on the team."
Then it was time for the tasks. Trust exercises and solving challenges together formed the framework. The participants gave overwhelmingly positive feedback for the "rail run". The course consisted of two logs lying in parallel on the ground. Six people had to get from left to right and six people in the opposite direction — without touching the ground. Something that sounds simple at first requires a great deal of cooperation, consideration and agreement.
The new trainees and students were unanimous in considering the workshop to be a valuable experience. "By the second day you could clearly see that the initial reserve was wearing off. We were getting on better, we knew each other, not just from a chat but from things that we had experienced together," reports Maximilian Scheiber (16), a trainee electronics technician for industrial equipment alongside Lukas Lechner.
The workshop participants will also remember the little, unplanned challenges: A farmer's chicken escaped from a nearby farm. The trainees successfully caught it and returned it to its owner.