2021 training year gets underway at Heidelberg

IT-related occupations help with digital transformation

Some 85 young people began their training/dual study program at the Heidelberg site in Wiesloch-Walldorf on September 1, 2021. The total figure for the company’s four sites in Germany was 122. Photo Heidelberg

The training year at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) starts on 1 September 2021. Some 122 young women and men are embarking on their training or dual study program at one of the company’s four sites in Wiesloch-Walldorf, Brandenburg, Amstetten, and Ludwigsburg. At the Wiesloch-Walldorf site alone, no fewer than 85 trainees are moving into a redesigned training center. Training is currently offered in 11 occupations, alongside numerous technical, business, and interdisciplinary courses. The focus is on production-related careers, for example, training to be a mechanic, mechatronics engineer, electronics engineer, or logistician. However, the importance of IT-related occupations and the relevant training options on offer are both continuing to grow. For instance, the number of training places for IT specialists is going up from four to five. Business information systems students specializing in software engineering or application management can look forward to exciting and varied challenges at Heidelberg.

“Our business information systems students have the opportunity to learn all about IT and business science in a practical setting. Depending on their interests and capabilities, there is also a possibility of specializing in the latest IT-related topics that are relevant to Heidelberg. Our students and graduates generally play a key role in our company’s digital transformation,” says Andreas Blum, who is in charge of vocational training at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site.

Artificial intelligence is also making its presence felt in IT-related occupations. In particular, it is becoming increasingly important in the end-to-end operation of presses and in automated end customer consulting. Heidelberg involves both trainees and students in the company’s future-focused activities from the outset – in the form of practical projects relating, for example, to electromobility, printed electronics, or software engineering.

Scope of training to grow in the coming years

Despite a significant decrease in headcount, Heidelberg is upping the absolute number of training places by around a fifth this year. Due to demographic change and the growing digitization of all areas of the company, the skills employees need are constantly evolving. The company will therefore be offering even more places for trainees and students over the coming years, in line with requirements.

“As digitization marches on, we need young talent to prepare us for the challenges that lie ahead – in our core business based on the printed sheet and also in new growth markets such as printed electronics and electromobility,” explains Prof Rupert Felder, who is in charge of human resources at the company. “Heidelberg offers a high level of training in exciting disciplines, which then generally leads on to a permanent employment contract,” he adds.

Around 300 trainees are currently employed at the company’s four sites, approximately 230 of whom are based at the largest site, Wiesloch-Walldorf.

Training partnerships becoming increasingly important

Along with its own intake, Heidelberg is also accepting trainees from other companies in the context of training partnerships. Some 15 such trainees are currently at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site. This means smaller companies can avoid having to provide their own training courses or extend their vocational training. They save money by making use of the training offered by Heidelberg. For its part, Heidelberg can make better use of available training capacities and the young trainees learn to work in partnership with other companies at this early stage. “As a result, companies are more willing to make training available – in the light of demographic change, for instance. Our partnership strategy is making vocational training as a whole more attractive in the region,” says Felder.

Applications already open for 2022 training year

Applications are already being taken for training and study programs starting in September 2022. School grades are not the only deciding factor when it comes to a training place at Heidelberg. Just as important are applicants’ social skills, personality, and attitude to their career. Full details about vocational training at Heidelberg and an application portal can be found on the company’s website.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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