Energie AG's in-house apprenticeship programme is an important competitive advantage. Since 1943, 1,532 apprentices have successfully completed their training and become top-qualified specialists in their fields. About half of these are still employed in the Company today. In September 2021, 22 young people (previous year: 21), among them two women, began their apprenticeships at Energie AG in the areas of electrical engineering and metals engineering. In keeping with our mission to promote diversity, apprentices of immigrant descent and asylum seekers also have their place in the Energie AG Group.
The next couple of years will see a significant scaling up of the marketing activities in districts with a higher demand for skilled workers (e.g. Schärding, Ried, Braunau). The apprenticeship trainers will pay personal visits to the polytechnic schools in these districts and inform the students about the apprenticeship programmes. The presence on regional job fairs is continuously being reinforced. The apprenticeship programme will be presented at the trade fairs in Braunau (Burgkirchen) and Mattighofen for the first time starting in fiscal year 2021/2022.
The cooperation with mandatory-attendance schools (electrical engineering polytechnic course, PowerGirls, Girls Day) as well as the offers for job shadowing only took place in a limited scope due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual tour of the modern training workshop at Energie AG in Gmunden using 3D glasses was certainly helpful in this regard.
The apprenticeship programmes place a special focus on digitalisation. Apprentices are introduced to the digital transformation, from basic knowledge of digital technology to CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) technology, PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) programming, 3D printers and smart home digital control on tablet devices. Once apprentices have successfully completed their probationary period, they are provided with their own tablets, which they can use at work as well as privately.
Safety and health are especially important to Energie AG in its apprentice training. The Company offers professional workshops and seminars to provide guidance to young people on topics such as preventing addiction and using the internet safely.
The most important milestone for an apprentice is the skilled worker examination at the Austrian Economic Chambers. The quality of training was also documented in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, receiving an outstanding result. Between them, the 18 current graduates (previous year: 16) earned 15 distinction grades in vocational school and 14 good or outstanding results in their final examinations. The fact that Energie AG was able to maintain the high quality of training despite the COVID-19 pandemic is confirmed by the exceptional success at the apprentice contest held by the industry of Upper Austria: an apprentice energy technician in his second year won not only in his own category but also dominated the overall contest with the result of being distinguished with the title of “best apprentice in Upper Austria 2021”.
The capacity of the training workshop for electrical engineering and metals engineering will be expanded to the possible maximum. This has allowed a total of 22 apprentices to start their careers at Energie AG in September 2021.
The modernisation of the training workshop was also started in the past fiscal year. The electronics workshop and laboratory have already been upgraded to “state-of-the-art technology”. This project will be continued in the next couple of years with the objective of warranting that the apprenticeship programme at Energie AG continues to rank among the best in Upper Austria.
The recruiting process was very challenging in the past fiscal year. A hiring process that was adapted to the COVID-19 rules applicable at Energie AG Group assured that all vacant apprenticeship positions were filled with suitable young talents.
In 2018, Energie AG initiated the establishment of the “zukunft.lehre.österreich” association Future Apprenticeships Austria (ZLÖ). Its objective is to strengthen the image of apprenticeships in Austria. The role of president is currently occupied by its creator, Chief Executive Officer DDr. Werner Steinecker MBA. Joining forces with the other members of the association, Energie AG aims to restore the status that apprenticeships deserve as a key foundation of business and, in turn, of society and the future at large. Since 2018, we have worked meticulously to design and advertise an Austria-wide apprenticeship platform and an apprenticeship-related image campaign aimed at the target group. A package aimed at safeguarding apprenticeship capacities will make financial aid to the tune of EUR 2,000 available for each new apprentice accepted by the Company.