Reports from our apprentices

We interviewed some of our apprentices at our different departments and locations. They provided us with an insight into their personal working lives at the Aebi Schmidt Group and revealed some of the details of their daily work.

Industrial Clerk

The apprenticeship as an Industrial Clerk is among the top five vocational occupations in Germany. Around 20,000 young people embark on an apprenticeship as an Industrial Clerk each year. Isabelle Maise is one such young person, having started her apprenticeship at Schmidt's St. Blasien (GER) location on 1st September 2013.

Why did you decide to embark on an apprenticeship as an Industrial Clerk?

I did an internship at Aebi Schmidt Deutschland GmbH in St. Blasien which gave me a very interesting insight into the kind of tasks completed by an industrial clerk. It was then that I decided I would also be very interested in completing an apprenticeship in this vocation. I really like the variety of tasks and being able to work in a wide range of different departments. I especially enjoy dealing with the customers in my job, whether it is in person, by email or over the telephone, and the different internal departments that I work in. It goes without saying that my computer is my constant companion and I enjoy working with it, and that doesn't just mean using the standard programs such as Microsoft Office. When I worked in the sales department, for example, I also got to learn SAP, which I used for managing suppliers' data and completing orders. I also very much enjoyed working with Adobe Premiere Pro which I used in order to edit videos during my time in the marketing department. The excellent further training options and career prospects offered by the apprenticeship were also factors in my decision. With my basic qualification as an Industrial Clerk I certainly feel well equipped for the future.

Looking back, what has been the most exciting project that you have worked on?

The most exciting project that I have been able to work on so far was the organisation of the so-called "Lighthouse day" which was part of our "Fit for tomorrow" campaign. In the summer of 2014, the "Lighthouse day" took place in the production department for the compact sweepers. Over 150 employees and family members took up the invitation. Two of my tasks were to develop a tour of the production department and to draft descriptions of the individual sequences (the different production steps). On the day of the event, I also welcomed the visitors to the headquarters and got to give each of them a key pendant with their name on it. At the same time, we took photos of the employees and their families which we then printed, put into frames and presented to them.

What do you like the most about your apprenticeship at Aebi Schmidt?

I think it's really great to be able to gain experience in several different departments and to have been welcomed into the team so quickly. All of my colleagues are very friendly and helpful, it's like a big family here. Aebi Schmidt also has the feel of an international company, which I really like. We not only supply our products to customers all over the world, we also work very closely together with our locations in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland, and also with the international sales companies.

Linda Kocher wanted to do something with people in her career. The variety of possible apprenticeships open to her therefore seemed limitless. She made her decision to complete an apprenticeship as a Management Assistant as the basis for her future career on a school visit to the Aebi plant in Burgdorf. Linda Kocher is now in the second year of her apprenticeship and is currently working in the personnel department.

You now have two years of your apprenticeship behind you. What have been your impressions and experiences?

During the Management Assistant apprenticeship at Aebi, the apprentices experience working in a different department six months at a time. I started in the marketing department which I really enjoyed, as working in a media-oriented role, whether it is with text, photography or design work, is something I really like to do. I have especially positive memories of organising and designing small gifts in the "Aebi design" for our customers. I also found helping out at the “Eidgenössisches Schwingfest” in Burgdorf, which we supported as a leading sponsor in 2013, to be great fun. I have been very impressed by the fact that I have been able to work independently from the very start, and that I have been given a great deal of personal responsibility with my tasks. I haven't just been able to work independently in the marketing and personnel departments, I have also done so in the spare parts warehouse, where I have gathered parts together and dispatched them to the recipients.

Do you feel embarking on an apprenticeship as Management Assistant to have been the right choice?

Yes, I certainly do. I think that it has given me an excellent basis for my future career, and that I'm not confined to working in one specific area. My apprenticeship has also provided me with an interesting journey through a company. By changing departments on a regular basis I have been able to get to know how a manufacturing business operates at Aebi, which has enabled me to understand how different processes interface with each other. You also get to know many life skills, such as working with different people and around people who have different mentalities. When working on the telephone switchboard you are the first point of contact, for example, which means you not only need to have a good overview for who is responsible for what, you also have to be able to respond to the caller's enquiry effectively.

What kind of personal attributes are especially important for an apprenticeship as a Management Assistant?

A mix of team working aptitude and independence are certainly important, as well as being prepared to take on responsibility. In a medium sized company you also have to be especially flexible and help out as required. But that's what's important: being able to bring in ideas of your own knowing that the work that you do is valued. You should also be open to new things and be able to get along with people well.

How would you sum up your apprenticeship at Aebi?

I am really looking forward to my six-month stints in the purchasing, accounts and sales departments. I feel very happy completing my apprenticeship at Aebi. The atmosphere here is great and the sense of cooperation and support you get from your colleagues is very special. And even if we're a mechanical engineering company, Aebi certainly isn't a guys-only company – it is also a place where girls are more than welcome!

Precision Mechanic in the specialist field of Mechanical Engineering

Previously known as machinist and/or machine engineer, the modern vocational profession of Precision Mechanic is an important vocational training profession at the Aebi Schmidt Group. This professional title came about in 2002 by merging the professions of machine engineering technician, lathe operator, specialist mechanic and toolmaker into a single vocation. Tobias Mayer talks about the first two years of his apprenticeship at Schmidt in St. Blasien.

Why did you decide on an apprenticeship as a Precision Mechanic, and why did you decide to apply to Schmidt?

My father completed an apprenticeship at Schmidt – when it was still known as the Machinist apprenticeship – more than twenty years ago, so I know quite a lot about the vocation and the tasks that it involves. I suppose I have followed in his footsteps. I really enjoy working with my hands, and at Schmidt there are plenty of things to be getting on with in this respect – from working with small mechanical components and hydraulics all the way over to large scale vehicles that weigh in at several tonnes.

What sort of personal attributes do you need to be a Precision Mechanic?

You certainly need a technical understanding, technical flair and a sense of spatial perception. We frequently have to read and understand technical drawings that we are given by the design department, which basically means turning 2D into 3D. Another thing that is just as important is an aptitude for teamwork. We work very closely with developers and designers. Parts and components frequently have to be assembled by the team which means a lot of collaboration. Flexibility is another important attribute, as every task has different deadlines and requires differing personnel resources.

What is a typical working day like for a Precision Mechanic apprentice at Schmidt?

I work in both the apprentice workshop and the production department. In the apprentice workshop, components for the vehicles and auxiliary equipment are manufactured and adapted using turning, milling and drilling machinery. Sometimes I am required to make a spare part for a vehicle which is very old and therefore requires an individually designed product. When new products are developed I prepare the parts according to the designers' drawings. If I'm required to work in production, I work together with my colleagues in the assembly department. I think it's really great that I was integrated in the team right from the start and was given responsibility at an early stage – for instance, checking screws and seals in the scope of their final approval.

What do you especially like about your job, and what do you think makes Schmidt special as a training company?

In my job, I really like being able to experience the way something gets to be created. From reading and studying the plans, to fabricating the individual components, to the final assembly. When a sweeper or a snow plough leaves the production hall before setting to work on a road somewhere or at an airport, then I know that I had a hand in its construction. Another thing: the apprentices are in great hands at Schmidt. The collaboration with your colleagues is excellent and you get a lot of great instruction. I'm really looking forward to the next year and a half and the excellent future prospects that my qualification as a Precision Mechanic will offer me.

Simon Arm can look forward to some great future prospects. As an apprentice Multi-Skilled Mechanic at Aebi's Burgdorf location, he is in his second year of an apprenticeship in a diverse and varied vocational profession.

Why did you decide to embark on an apprenticeship as a Multi-Skilled Mechanic?

I first got to learn about the Multi-Skilled Mechanic apprenticeship on a taster internship, when I got to find out about what the profession involves and the materials that you get to work with. I really enjoyed my two-week internship and when I finished it I decided I wanted to go on and do the apprenticeship.

How does the apprenticeship actually work?

The apprenticeship lasts four years. We started by spending twenty weeks in the apprentice workshop, where we learned to file, to work with the lathe, and to mill. During this time, we got to make our own things, such as a bench vice. We were then able to put our knowledge to use in the pre-assembly and to put together individual components for the vehicles. Each apprentice generally spends two to three months in a department before it's time to move on to the next one. Aebi also works closely together with the company RCM-Estech AG, which is also based in Burgdorf, which is also home to the apprentice workshop, the metalworking shop and the welding shop. There we also stamp the levelling bars for the Aebi mowers for example, and weld the drivers' cabins together.

What would you recommend to someone who is also thinking about embarking on an apprenticeship as a Multi-Skilled Mechanic and what kind of attributes should they have?

I definitely recommend that they take the taster internship to find out whether this work is their kind of thing. We work with metal and machinery a lot of the time which naturally takes a bit of getting used to if you come straight from school. Getting a taste for the profession is therefore a good way of having a look at what the job involves. Technical understanding and logical thinking are also things you should bring into an apprenticeship, as well as the willingness to get stuck in with your hands and your head.

What do you like the most about your apprenticeship at Aebi?

I really like the fact that the work is so varied. The apprentices are supervised very well, and considerable importance is attributed to ensuring that we also gain a very good understanding of the machines and work processes so that we can work independently after a short period. Of course, the vehicles are also great, and seeing a vehicle being created by putting all of the different parts together and getting to sit behind the steering wheel for the final approval check is a really great feeling. I really feel that I have made the right decision in starting my vocational training at Aebi, and when I look to the future a lot of options are open to me, including going on to study at a vocational school or university.

Take off with us!

Are you looking for an exciting work environment? At Aebi Schmidt you can develop yourself and your talents will be promoted individually.

You are actively shaping your career and the future of the company and you will be part of a dynamic team.


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