Many companies complain about a shortage of skilled workers. Emsland-Stärke in Emlichheim is trying to counteract this. This includes free taxi rides for the chemical technician apprentices to their vocational school.
In the rurally located Lower County, the company finds it difficult to fill in all areas of production with enough trainees. It's not about highly specialized academics. The biggest problem is the position of chemical technician, who usually works in production as a "plant operator". Young graduates from secondary schools, Hauptschule and Realschule, make up the target group here.
One of the biggest drawbacks for the training to become a chemical technician is apparently the one year that must be spent at a vocational school, which the apprentice must start in the first year as a full-time student. For this period, a preliminary contract with the company is already signed, but no compensation is paid. When transitioning from vocational school to the company, which is regarded as the start of the second year of the apprenticeship, there is currently a fee of 600 euros. The allowance for the apprentice at that point amounts to around 840 euros per month. A working group at Emsland-Stärke is currently exploring whether this can be improved.
However, difficulties for the 16 and 17-year-old apprentices begin when they attend the vocational school in Lingen for one year. If the students use public transportation, the round trip could take up to two and a half hours. The company has found a remedy for this. The trainees who have signed a preliminary contract with Emsland-Stärke will be picked up by shared taxi at collection points in the Lower County and will be chauffeured, for free, to the school and back to the county in the afternoon. For the apprentices this means saving time and money.
High demand for chemical technicians
To this end, the company supports apprentices when they need to purchase books and other learning materials. In order to solve the shortage of chemical technicians, according to the proposal of the in-house working group, achieving a final grade of 3 is necessary to be taken on by the company. In the future, passing the exam will be sufficient.
“Emsland-Stärke has a high demand for chemical technicians,” said Berthold Lammers from the works council. In the next ten years, six to eight apprenticeships could be filled here each year. The company's goal is to train 20 percent above its own requirements. Lammers reported that they wanted to fill 13 apprenticeships for chemical technicians last year, but there were only six applications for these spots.
Members of the company also know about the disadvantages of the chemical technician’s profession, such as around-the-clock shift work, including weekends. Berthold Lammers touts that a gross income of around 3500 euros can be achieved with contingency benefits.
Emsland-Stärke provides information about the profession of chemical technician in schools and at career fairs. Women, too, can work in this field.
The profession of chemical technician can also be attractive to women. Julia Dening completed her apprenticeship at the Emsland Group. She is active in production, makes quality measurements and adjusts equipment.