Arburg is based in the Black Forest town of Lossburg, Germany, a country that has long been the world leader for industrial training and apprenticeships. On Sept. 4, Arburg welcomed 63 new trainees and students of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University — the most ever for the company.
The newcomers first spent two days away from the plant, with director of training Michael Vieth and other Arburg officials in the city of Rottweil, for team-building activities and canoeing.
They arrived at Arburg's plant and got an extensive tour as well as an introduction to Arburg's product range of injection molding machinery and various departments.
Renate Keinath, Arburg managing partner, greeted them on their first day in Lossburg. "You can look forward to the opportunity to gain valuable experience for your professional life," she said. "You will be the ones who will use their know-how to take our company forward."
Students who come to Arburg have a tremendous role model in Herbert Kraibühler, who retired in 2014 after 50 years at the company. He was managing director of technology and engineering and became one of the most well-known machinery experts in Germany.
But Kraibühler started out as a humble 14-year-old apprentice at Arburg. His classmates spent their first day — and several months, he recalled — filing a piece of metal, measuring and remeasuring. Ask any German who did an industrial apprenticeship and they all mention endless filing.
Kraibühler advanced all the way to the technical top spot at Arburg and worked there his whole career. That says something important about hard work and the German system of industrial training.
Every country that does manufacturing is struggling to get young people involved. Germany does it right, and it absolutely must keep it going in order to remain an exporting powerhouse. Exports account for about 70 percent of the plastics and rubber machinery made in Germany, according to the VDMA industry association.
Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University offers dual education bachelor's degree programs, like a co-op. Arburg works with the university to help students in the fields of mechanical engineering, information technology, industry, international business administration, commercial information technology, industrial engineering and management.
Arburg's news release announcing the new student class includes some interesting quotes from the young people.
"I really enjoy logic and programming," said Chiara Schütz, 19, who picked a cooperative degree in business IT. "I liked what I saw when I came for my interview at Arburg, and you can already feel the family atmosphere and positive appreciation."
Steeven Schön, 17, who is training as an electronics engineer for automation technology, said: "I think it's great that everyone here is so nice, and I am looking forward to starting my training."
Christian Ober, 19, decided to take mechanical engineering. "I like being able to develop and design things and to finally have a real end product you can hold in your hand," he said.
That sounds like something Herbert Kraibuhler would have said back in his teenage years.