New Technologies, Challenges and Possibilities - Unbroken Enthusiasm Over the Generations
Daimler has now been training young people for 100 years. An anniversary that tells many stories: e.g. that of Waldemar Harr, aged 82. Each year following his retirement 18 years ago, he meets up with colleagues who began their training at Daimler in 1953, like himself. Naturally there is much talk of those earlier days. What remains is their enthusiasm for Daimler and its automobiles.
"We began our training together at Mercedes 63 years ago. To this day we still come together once a year. All of us still share a great interest in the company," says Waldemar Harr. Each person has written his own history at Daimler. Waldemar Harr: "I am very proud of the company, and was always grateful for the development opportunities. After my training as an automotive mechanic, I had the marvelous opportunity to be responsible for the internal organization and coordination of commercial vehicle sales in Germany."
Waldemar Harr and his old fellow-trainees identify so closely with their former employer that they expressed the wish to pay a visit and find out about the latest state of play.
Accordingly the master foreman currently in charge invited the interested retirees to the plant in Untertürkheim for a day. Impressed with his specialist knowledge and enthusiasm, somebody had the idea of bringing the "old-stager" Harr together with the current crop of trainees and future specialists at the plant.
Now the former trainee Harr stands in front of future specialists in automotive mechatronics in the Brühl annexe, and the young people listen to his stories with gasps of amazement. In return the latter amaze the 82 year-old with their knowledge of new technologies.
"The initial training was our entry into Daimler, and forged a very strong bond," the former trainee explains. Denise Gallina fully agrees. "I am very proud to be taking an apprenticeship in automotive mechatronics," she says.
When Waldemar Harr visits Brühl, the similarities and differences between the training then and now become clear. In his time there were already report pads, vocational training and theoretical/workshop training. This is still the same today. At that time the basic training period was one year, now it is only four weeks. But the specialist assignments have become much more demanding and time-intensive. Moreover, vehicles had far fewer onboard electrics and electronics in the 1960s, therefore there was less to teach. "When we were learning electrics, the foremen would switch over certain lines in the circuitry, and we had to find the faults," Waldemar Harr remembers. The trainees grin knowingly - this sounds familiar to them, looking for faults and finding the remedy – though diagnostics are nowadays far more complex and demanding.
There is intensive and lively conversation between the different trainee generations. Waldemar Harr impresses with his graphic description of "welding two iron rods together with no discernible joint" using an open, coal-fired forge. One story follows another: He continues with a risky experiment involving a small steel box, water and paper on the open forge. When he completes the anecdote with the words "a sound like an exploding cannon-ball, the paper plug was too tight, the steel box exploded, tore through the metal chimney of the forge, embedded itself in the concrete ceiling above, and the air pressure caused three large windows on the third floor to fall to the ground", the trainees are wide-eyed with amazement. And their instructors are visibly relieved that training no longer takes place at open forges.
"The comparison between then and now is really cool," says Annkatrin Krokenberger, one of the trainees. "It's great to see how today's technology fascinates Mr. Harr."
Apart from his lively descriptions, it is his curiosity and thirst for knowledge that the trainees find most noticeable. This was probably one of the factors responsible for the subsequent career of Waldemar Harr. After his apprenticeship as an automotive mechanic, he underwent business training and finally worked his way up to director of the Mercedes-Benz own-retail outlet in Darmstadt.
100 years of training - Daimler offers excellent development opportunities.
In all stages of their educational and career paths, the company offers its employees tailor-made programs and supporting measures for their personal further development. Promising young employees can enter Daimler directly via the commercial and technical professional training scheme, as well as by mixed courses of study. The very diverse entry-level and further training programs also appeal to talented young people, offering them scope for development within the company. With the international exchange programs for trainees and instructors, Daimler creates the basis for mobility and flexibility as well as foreign language and intercultural skills. Employees are able to undergo further education and training throughout their professional lives, following the principle of lifelong learning. At present there are 8307 trainees employed by Daimler around the world. Training has been firmly established at the plant in Untertürkheim from its beginnings in the time of the Kaiser to the present generation. It is not only the long