STORIES

Educational objective: the future

Apprentice training from yesteryear and professions for tomorrow

Fill's third employee was the first apprentice – back in 1966. Now, in 2022, a former apprentice is one of the managing directors. Between these two dates lie almost 50 years of continuous transformation, change, improvement, and innovation.

It was Leopold Stelzhammer who approached the small metalworking shop in Gurten in 1966 – which still had a filling station back then, but that's another story. He wanted to serve an apprenticeship to become a machine mechanic.

 

"Well, make a start now and we'll soon see if you're skillful enough."

//Member of the Landesrat (retired) Councilor Josef Fill, Founder of Fill Gesellschaft m.b.H.

This was approximately all that the interview entailed. It also included the suitability criteria. Because trainees need to be skillful. Anyway, he went to work straight away. Learning by doing was the most important training methodology. If a young person was lucky, they joined a good company and had an innovative master. If not, it was hard graft for little reward.

"The more motivated and enthusiastic you were, the more you were allowed to do," says Günter Redhammer, apprentice year group 1990. "I was involved directly from the outset, so I had to learn quickly how to improvise, which was also completely normal in special machine building. A great many sheet metal housings, which are supplied as finished components today, had to be 'designed' and made by apprentices back then."

"To all intents and purposes, I had no idea what was in store for me during the apprentice training period. There was no opportunity to get a taste for a day or two back then.“

//Günter Redhammer, COO, began his apprenticeship to become a machine mechanic at Fill in 1990

For Fill and its family of owners, every apprentice is special: a part of the future. They come through the company gates on their first working day as a blank canvas, full of dreams and vigor. With an intensive, high-quality apprenticeship, they can become our future managing directors, heads of department, product managers or sales managers. Because an apprenticeship no longer determines a specific profession, it lays the foundations for the future.

"When I began my apprenticeship at Fill, there were two training programs: mechanic and electrician."
//Karl Leiner, Mechanical Engineering Apprentice Trainer, began his apprenticeship to become a machine mechanic at Fill in 1985

"There were 25 of us, which was a very high proportion of apprentices for the number of employees (115) at the time. I opted for an apprenticeship to become a mechanic because my father was also a mechanic at another company," says Karl Leiner (Mechanical Engineering Apprentice Trainer), recalling how he started his apprenticeship at Fill 37 years ago.

Career orientation days and trial apprenticeships have since become the norm. No young person engages in a three- or four-year apprenticeship any more without knowing beforehand where they are heading. After all, it is one of life's first important decisions, and the opportunities are now very diverse with eleven different apprenticeship programs at Fill. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for further training. Each apprenticeship program has appropriately qualified trainers and detailed training plans with knowledge checks. Moreover, team building, social behavior, and IT skills are becoming increasingly important and now have a fixed place in training.

Simon Zagerbauer, a machine engineering apprentice in his third year of training, became aware of Fill through a school visit. On a tour of the company, projects were explained in greater detail and exciting insights provided. After completing a taster day, there was nothing to stop him starting an apprenticeship.

 

"They let me assist directly on a machine on my taster day. That really impressed me."

//Simon Zagerbauer, began his machine engineering apprenticeship at Fill in 2019

Today, Fill is regarded as a model company for career orientation and cooperation between schools and business. As part of the various personnel marketing activities, such as career orientation days, HTL engineering days, and others in the Future Lab, over 2,500 students visit the company every year. Many of them have already discovered their passion for machines, robots, integrated circuits, and innovation. And this passion is essential for finding their way to the future.

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