In recent years, EnBW has also found it more difficult to attract a sufficient number of apprentices and students on dual study programs. Demand has in fact outstripped supply. As a company, we therefore asked ourselves the following question: What do the members of so-called Generation Z – i.e., those born between 1997 and 2012 – need in order to choose a company that will train them and then ideally become their employer?
We have read market studies. Above all, however, we have talked to the relevant departments as well as our trainees and students. We have understood that it is particularly important to today’s young people to be engaged in a meaningful activity. Work needs to be more than just a job to them. The values that a company represents are more important to the current generation of trainees than to previous generations. Our unique selling point lies in giving people at EnBW the opportunity every day to work on one of the largest social projects in decades and actively shape the energy world of tomorrow.
In 2019, we realigned our training measures based on strategic personnel planning. Our training is now more digital and innovative. Diversity, equity and inclusion are aspects that are firmly rooted in our corporate culture and, of course, our training. The fact that we now offer training across 20 locations at EnBW and Netze BW in 15 different careers also shows just how important qualified young talent is to us.
This is how we are dealing with the issue of demographic change, which is also affecting our company. Specifically, around 3,000 colleagues will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. As they retire, we will lose a wealth of experience and expertise acquired over many decades. That is why it is all the more important to make sure that many motivated school-leavers now choose EnBW.
We are one of the biggest companies in the region and are therefore able to make our trainers specialists and ensure that we teach using the latest technology. Below we present some of our training methods and tools. But let’s start with the good news: Our strategy is bearing fruit. The training rate has been steadily rising since 2019. We are confident that we will be able to tackle the skills shortage and find the employees needed for the energy transition. The future of energy started long ago at EnBW.
Modern training starts with the methodology. Our trainers embark on a “learning journey” on which they can be trained to become systemic coaches, among other things. They see themselves more as learning companions for the trainees entrusted to them.
In a fast-changing world, we as a company have to react at ever shorter notice with a greater focus on the customer. That is why we already provide intensive training in agile methods for our students on dual study programs and our technical and commercial apprentices – whether it involves scrum, OKR, kanban or design thinking. Many of the student projects are also already organized along agile lines. Find out here what specific form this takes.
AI (artificial intelligence) is presenting us with entirely new opportunities. We specifically use it in areas where it can be of use to our trainees. This is the case with rhetoric training, for example, where AI analyzes speeches and provides practical tips on how to improve them.
It is not just the methodology that has to keep up with the times: We invest in new technologies so that our trainees are optimally prepared for the working world of tomorrow.
You can watch an interesting video about our innovative tools here:
As a company, however, we see training not only as a necessity, but also as our social responsibility. We are living up to this responsibility in a unique way by launching initiatives such as WomEnergy2, a mentoring program designed to promote female apprentices and dual students in technical professions. The program gives the young women the opportunity to talk to an experienced mentor about matters related to training or studying. It was launched in March 2023 and is set to run for six months.
The main goals of our career integration program are to educate people and help them to help themselves. At EnBW’s Karlsruhe site and Netze BW’s Esslingen site, migrants and refugees are being prepared for a technical apprenticeship in the fields of mechanics and electrical engineering. Since the launch of the program in 2016, 42 refugees have completed their training, 37 of whom have been taken on – a real success story!
Another success story is that of Hossein Sharifi Parakshati, who came to Germany from Iran in 2015 without any knowledge of German. He started working at EnBW in 2018 and completed his training as a mechatronics engineer in 2022. He was taken on immediately afterwards and has since been working in his chosen career at the Rheinhafen steam power plant (RDK) in Karlsruhe.
“I was lucky to be given this chance,” he says. For him, it was a double opportunity: “I realized that the career integration program would not only give me the opportunity to do an apprenticeship. I would also be able to learn German.” Once he had completed his vocational training, it was clear to him that he would be free and could apply to work anywhere. There are two reasons why he decided to stay at EnBW: For one thing, he was able to familiarize himself with his future role during his training. “My colleagues were just really nice and I found the work in the power plant interesting,” he explains. Moreover, months before the end of his training, he was given an assurance that he would be taken on after passing his exam. Even now, he is still convinced that he made the right choice back then. “What I like best is that you don’t remain standing still here,” says Hossein. Since the end of his apprenticeship, for instance, he has already completed two further training courses, one to become a FGD assistant (flue gas desulfurization plant assistant), immediately followed by another course to train as an operations assistant, which involves him undertaking inspection rounds of the entire plant. What does he wish for the future? “At the moment, everything is going really well – with my team, the shift supervisor, the training,” he says happily. “My only wish is that everything stays that way.”
This film provides a little insight into Hossein’s apprenticeship at EnBW:
When Jonas Deck walks through the training workshop again after work, it is often the case that he is not alone there. “For me, it is always a good sign when the young people don’t drop everything, or more precisely their screwdrivers, on the stroke of half past three,” says the technical instructor with a smile. The budding mechatronics engineers and industrial electronics engineers are so deeply engrossed in their projects that they barely glance at the clock. For Jonas Deck, it is clear why: “These are really their own projects that they work on independently.” Trainees in the first year of their apprenticeship are given the opportunity to develop their own product and then make it. A great deal of value is placed on creativity and independence. “But then we also see a particularly high level of commitment,” says Jonas Deck. The most astonishing results are produced: Last year it was a stamping press, this year it is the turn of a pinball machine. The emphasis is clearly on practical work on the company premises, with the trainees part of the so-called “Apprentice and Student Factory.”
Behind this is a rather unique project that Jonas Deck devised together with Sarah Westermann, who is responsible for commercial training at Netze BW. The aim is to introduce trainees to agile working methods from the very start. That is why the projects are planned and implemented using so-called “sprints.” Every week there are milestones that need to be reached. The teams are made up of a mix of technical and commercial trainees, supervised in equal measure by technical and commercial trainers, who also pay particular attention to compliance with safety standards.
“When you see how enthusiastic the young people are about their work, it is also really enjoyable as a trainer, to be honest” says Jonas Deck. They don’t appear to be running out of ideas anytime soon: The next project involves making their own drone using a 3D printer. According to the plan, each training location will develop and build its own drone. All of the teams will ultimately get together to choose the best drone – and thus the winning team.