Building the Future: Apprentices at Metrohm
Apprentices make up almost 10% of the staff at our headquarters. Metrohm International Headquarters offers vocational training in 8 different professions, including chemistry lab technician, electronics technician, logistics specialist, and office clerk. Having always enjoyed introducing our office clerk trainees to the work we do during their half-year rotation in the Marketing team, I decided that these bright young minds deserve their own blog entry.
Circa 40 of our employees here at Metrohm Headquarters are apprentices. Besides supporting young talents from the region, training apprentices helps Metrohm ensure new staff who have received an education that fits Metrohm’s high standards. For apprentices, Metrohm is an attractive employer. Firstly, because of its size: Being a large company, apprentices receive a broad training with rotations in various departments during which they get to know many different aspects of their future profession. Secondly, Metrohm offers many benefits, including financial participation in teaching materials, language courses—including abroad—, and public transport tickets. And thirdly, even though there’s no job guarantee after the completed apprenticeship, there’s virtually always the possibility to stay at Metrohm as a permanent employee.
The Apprentices: Laura, Sarah, and Jessica
Laura, 18 years old, and Sarah and Jessica, both 17, are currently training as chemistry lab technicians. Laura and Sarah were already fans of chemistry in school: «It was always fun. I loved the experiments», remembers Laura. «I decided to apply at Metrohm because I had a friend who was already training at Metrohm at the time and she was always really enthusiastic about it», she adds. Jessica’s decision to become a lab technician was helped by career counseling: «According to my interests and abilities, the counselor suggested to me to become a lab technician», she explains, «and after looking into the different possibilities, I decided I liked the chemistry lab best.»
Today, all three of them are still happy with their decision. They all agree that the training is varied and challenging. «What’s also really important», adds Laura, «is that we get along really well with our supervisors. They support us, no matter whether it’s about our training at Metrohm, about vocational school, or about our private life. We can talk to them about anything.» Laura, Sarah, and Jessica are also learning to work autonomously: «There’s always someone there to help or answer questions», they all agree, «but our supervisors let us do our assignments more and more independently over time. We really appreciate that they have confidence in us and take us seriously.»
There’s also a strong team spirit among all apprentices at Metrohm, no matter which profession they’re training for: «We’re all on the same wavelength», says Sarah. «The apprentices are all very open, joyful, and ambitious. And team activities like our annual apprentice camp, which is organized by Metrohm, weld us all together.»
The Supervisor: Manuel Raschle
Manuel just recently took up the job as supervisor for the lab technician apprentices. «I enjoyed looking after younger apprentices and teaching them how to do things in the lab even when I was an apprentice myself», Manuel says. «Also, I think it’s important to keep alive the profession of chemistry lab technician, and I’m glad to be able to contribute to that.»
«In the first year, I train the apprentices in the basics of lab chemistry. Then, in the second year, they do rotations in different departments. Finally, in the third year, the apprentices can focus on either analytical or synthetic chemistry to become experts in one of the two subjects», Manuel explains. In addition to the practical part of their training at Metrohm, the apprentices attend vocational school a few days a week where they learn the theory underlying their work.
Before taking over the supervision of the apprentices, Manuel was working in R&D projects fulltime. He’s still involved in R&D projects now, but the majority of his work time is now reserved for the apprentices. Manuel sees his role not only as a teacher who prepares his trainees for their final apprenticeship examination. He’s also a coach for them who’s there when something isn’t going well—be it at work, in school, or at home.
The Ex-Apprentice: Björn Christensen
Björn, who’s head of the Competence Center Software today, did his training as a chemistry lab technician at Metrohm from 1992 to 1995. For him, the career choice was an easy one: «For me, there were only two options: I wanted to be a chemistry or physics lab technician. After looking into both options, I knew pretty much immediately I preferred the former. In those days, Metrohm was already known as a good company, so when I was offered the training place, I joined.»
After finishing his 3 years of training, Björn joined Metrohm as a permanent employee. He later went on to study computer science and then began teaching IT part-time at a vocational school next to his job at Metrohm for some time. For Björn, staying at Metrohm means, among other things, freedom in his work: «After so many years, I’ve proven myself and I’ve earned the trust of my superiors. This allows me to do things my way—which means in an innovative, future-oriented manner.»