Engel scoops top prizes in 2015 apprentice awards

Congratulations are in order for Austrian injection molding machine manufacturer Engel: design engineering apprentice Sara Brandstetter at Engel Austria not only secured first place in this year’s competition for apprentices organized by the Economic Chamber for Upper Austria, she also won a special award for the best female trainee in a skilled technical trade. Raphael Pechhacker took second place in the machining technicians category.

Raphael Pechhacker and Sara Brandstetter.

The Engel apprentices triumphed in a field of 805 participants from 123 businesses throughout Upper Austria. In fact, a total of 37 young men and women from Engel were entered in the competition, a third of whom were rated ‘excellent’ by the critical panel of experts—a result that delighted Josef Wahlmüller, training manager at Engel Austria. Although Engel trainees consistently perform very well in competitions organized by the Economic Chamber, every new contest means fresh excitement and every new award is special.

“The success of our apprentices confirms that our training efforts are on the right track,” said Josef Wahlmüller, Training Manager at Engel Austria.

A team of trainers carefully monitors the trainees, identifying their strengths and talents and promoting individuals. Training courses also offer content not available in all companies. From the outset, ENGEL apprentices gain insights into adjacent departments; they learn how to take an interdisciplinary approach and work as part of international teams. English courses, crane and forklift operator licenses and first aide training are offered during training.

At Engel, construction is currently ongoing to expand the Schwertberg headquarters, a project that will include a revamp of the apprentice workshop. The training center, which has received national awards, is already one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the country. The modernized facilities will be furnished with state-of-the-art equipment for the some 150 Engel trainees—of the more than 170 worldwide—who are based in Austria. The large-scale machine plant in Shanghai also houses a big training center.  Every year, Engel takes on 45 new apprentices in Austria, training them as mechatronic technicians, machining technicians, mechanical engineers, plastics technicians, materials technicians, design engineers, surface technology specialists and warehouse logisticians. A salient aspect is the fact that trainees are integrated into the process machine assembly from the very beginning. A major motivator is the fact that machine components produced by trainees are used in machine assembly operations.

“Integration into the production network is something we will continue to encourage in future,” says Wahlmüller.

Since 98% of the apprentices are retained, the company's own training program makes a significant contribution in helping to recruit skilled professionals. At the same time, as Wahlmüller was quick to point out: “It enables us to enhance our company’s international competitiveness.”

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