GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Three host nation school graduates were welcomed and on-boarded to the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria apprenticeship program, on Sept. 1.
An apprenticeship in the German system allows interns to obtain on-the-job training while also attending a vocational school. This dual learning system dates back to the 19th century, and it is the most common way to get trained for a job in Germany. The Apprenticeship Program is aligned to the prescribed standards of the HN Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
The garrison hired office clerk apprentices for the Directorate of Public Works. Across Bavaria, about 60,000 people started their apprenticeship this September.
“The apprenticeship program is important source to hire young and energetic personnel to help mitigate the garrison’s aging workforce challenge and it is part of our succession planning efforts,” said Hans Dumbach, the apprenticeship program manager and chief of Workforce Development.
At USAG Bavaria, Kathrin Schertl, Barbara Lindner and Viktoria Barta started their apprenticeship with the DPW team. Barta and Lindner graduated from local schools of economics, and Schertl has earned a Bachelor degree in Anglistics from the University of Bayreuth.
“I was looking for a job where I can apply all the knowledge I gained during my studies of the American language, history and culture,” said Schertl. “I want a job I like to do every day with fulfillment. At the same time, I really appreciate the job security aspects of my new position.”
The apprenticeship takes two and a half years to complete, followed by a two year employment granted by the work tariff agreement and the opportunity to apply for a permanent position. According to Dieter Gebhardt, the garrison’s works council chairman, said more than 20% of the local national workforce is between the age of 60 and 65.
“There is a good chance to get hired after the job guarantee ends,” Gebhardt said.
“I’m very excited for your guys to come here. There was a big competition and you three survived,” said Col. Christopher Danbeck, garrison commander of USAG Bavaria. “Eighty percent of our apprentices stay on as a career.”
Overall, there are 14 apprentices currently at USAG Bavaria.