Vocational training at Volkswagen

Vocational group qualifications

Training at Volkswagen is organized systematically on the basis of vocational groups. A vocational group includes all employees whose work activities are based on similar technical skills and who need related expertise in order to perform their job. The skills profiles lay down the functional and interdisciplinary skills for each job. On this basis, a broad offering of qualifications is available to employees. Employees continue to develop throughout their working lives and continuously deepen their knowledge. In this process, they also learn from more experienced colleagues, who act as experts in the vocational group academies – the learning centers of the vocational groups – and pass on their knowledge to others.

Dual vocational training

Dual vocational training, where theory and practice are closely interwoven, provides the basis for first-class performance that meets the Volkswagen Group’s high standards of expertise and quality. Vocational education and training are offered based on the expertise required within each vocational group.

Volkswagen has introduced dual vocational training at many of the Group’s international locations in the past few years and is continuously working on improvements. In 2015, Volkswagen do Brasil made preparations for a three-year mechatronics engineer training program. The introduction of the program, which follows the German standard, is planned for 2016. When planning the construction of new factories – such as Audi’s Mexican plant in San José de Chiapa – dual training is included in the process right from the start. Over three-quarters of all the Group’s vocational trainees learn their trade through dual vocational training. As of December 31, 2015, the Volkswagen Group had trained 18,651 young people worldwide in approximately 60 trades and 50 dual study programs.

Once a year, Volkswagen honors its highest-achieving vocational trainees Group-wide with the “Best Apprentice Award”. In 2015, 12 young women and 33 young men at a total of 40 Group locations received this award for their excellent performance and technical expertise.

Particularly talented young specialists are supported in talent groups. The highest-achieving 10% of vocational trainees in each graduation year at Volkswagen AG and of the Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH’s location in Zwickau are admitted to these two-year development and training programs. These programs are aimed primarily at promoting the technical excellence and personal development of each participant individually.

After completing their vocational training, young people at the start of their career have the opportunity to take part in the “Wanderjahre” (Years Abroad) program, spending twelve months at one of the Group’s international locations. In the reporting period, 38 Volkswagen Group locations in 17 countries took part in this development program, including Porsche AG and Sitech GmbH for the first time. In 2015, 59 employees from Germany and 18 from nine other countries embarked on their Volkswagen Group Years Abroad program.

The “Volkswagen Group Charter on Vocational Education and Training” adopted in June 2015 shows the high value Volkswagen places on education and training. The Charter covers basic issues such as the selection process for apprentices, the duration and quality of vocational education and training, the tools and infrastructure available for teaching educational content, and the transition to post-apprenticeship employment.

The Volkswagen Group is a pioneer in the modernization of vocational education and training and is making preparations in good time for the digitalization of the working environment. Experts at Volkswagen and the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) are working to establish what adjustments need to be made to job descriptions and are drafting proposals for a forward-looking organization of vocational training – initially in Germany and later also internationally. In the reporting period, the focus was on developing a joint job profile for maintenance engineers that spells out the changed skill requirements.

The Volkswagen Group already develops and uses innovative methods in vocational education and training. They include the development of innovative learning formats in vocational training at Volkswagen and mobile learning with tablets, which Audi rolled out as a pilot project in 2015, initially at its German locations and later also at the international locations in Györ and Brussels.

as of December 31, 2015; in percent

Developing university graduates

Volkswagen uses a differentiated approach to ensure the loyalty of its young academic talent, which consists of two elements: the Student Talent Bank and the Academic Talent Pool.

Through the Student Talent Bank, Volkswagen supports particularly high-achieving students in both functional and interdisciplinary areas. The aim here is to persuade former interns to join the Company and, by inviting them to specialist lectures, seminars, or visits, for example, to give them the best possible preparation for entering a profession in the world of Volkswagen.

Talented young high potentials are added to the Academic Talent Pool just before they complete their degree or doctorate. This puts selected high potentials on the radar screen at the Company, allowing them to be considered for an entry-level position in one of the functional areas.

Volkswagen offers university graduates two structured trainee programs for joining the Company: StartUp Direct and StartUp Cross. In addition to working in their own department, trainees in the StartUp Direct program get a good overview of the Company and attend supplementary training seminars over a two-year period. University graduates interested in working internationally can take part in the 18-month StartUp Cross program. Over this period, they get to know Volkswagen through assignments in a variety of specialist areas throughout the value chain and, in addition, they broaden their knowledge and experience at different Volkswagen Passenger Cars locations at home and abroad. Volkswagen took on 346 trainees under one of the two programs in 2015; around 30% of them were women.

Trainee programs are also offered at the international Group locations, such as at ŠKODA in the Czech Republic and Scania in Sweden. In addition, the Volkswagen Group’s StartUp Europe trainee program has offered young engineers from Southern Europe an opportunity to gain international work experience since 2012. This Volkswagen program is designed to attract international talent and was initially targeted at university graduates from Italy, Spain and Portugal. Three months at a foreign subsidiary are followed by 21 months at a Group company in Germany. Participants may be offered permanent positions after the two-year program −22 promising young engineers were taken on in 2015.