11/06/2015, Germany. In April 1935 the first apprentice began his training at KAEFER in Bremen. Since then more than 1,300 industrial insulation technicians, dry construction technicians and industrial clerks have chosen this path and started their professional life with KAEFER. For this reason, we have just celebrated 80 years of apprenticeship with associates, the management, training officers, employees and guests as well as many former and current apprentices in the Headquarters in Bremen.
Times may have changed, but KAEFER’s commitment to apprenticeships remains as fierce as ever. It is a source of huge pride that nearly “half of the employees in Germany started as apprentices, including four of the company’s most senior executives”, says Chairman Peter Hoedemaker.
This also includes that the apprentices of all KAEFER locations are trained together in Bremen. The industrial apprentices stay in Bremen for the duration of their apprenticeship and live in shared flats. KAEFER shareholder Ralf Koch adds that, not only are the young people trained on a professional level, but “our trainer also personally look after the apprentices’ social needs and help them to manage their daily life”. KAEFER is one of the initiators of the construction training centre BAU-ABC Rostrup near Bad Zwischenahn. Through the intensive assignment in the apprenticeship beyond company level, KAEFER has decisively shaped the occupational profile of an industrial insulation technician.
Emke Emken, head of BAU-ABC Rostrup, also attests the company a high professional competence and an orientation towards the current demand of the industry. Approximately 15 years ago KAEFER has consciously chosen the new training model and thereby laid the foundation for an apprenticeship with a permanent high level.
The apprentices also demonstrated this level at the anniversary event where they showed their daily challenges in the office, the workshop or the shared flat with films and sketches. The subsequent panel discussion was a time travel through the decades: A former apprentice says that in the year 1958 he just finished school at the age of 14. His father was a hairdresser and he cut the hair of the former commercial branch manager in Bremen. For him things were quite clear: “My son will be an insulation fitter at KAEFER.” And this came true. On the second day they already went to the construction site. “We were always four days on the site, the fifth day in vocational school and afterwards we biked to KAEFER in order to collect our weekly pay check”, he says.
Another Ex-KAEFERite remembers that at the age of 14, he wanted to sail the seas. But when friends told him about the job as an industrial insulator, he recounted “I went to KAEFER and asked. Immediately they told me that I could start”. From there – back in 1961 – he worked his way up to the position of site manager and stayed with KAEFER for 50 years. Today, his children have also been working for the company for approximately 30 years.
One employee tells how she began her apprenticeship as an industrial clerk in the mid-1970’s as the second female apprentice ever. “Like everyone else we had to go the workshop for four weeks, there was a rough atmosphere”, she remembers. Even today an integral component of the training is that commercial apprentices spend several weeks in the workshop and on a construction site. “Only this way they can truly understand the procedures and only this way respect regarding the collaboration arises”, says Ralf König, head of Human Resources Germany.
This also applies to the international level: Since 2012, the “Bremer Sportgarten e.V.” provides two scholarships every year to KAEFER apprentices in cooperation with the Carl Duisberg Society, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the society for Bremen-Durban partnership. During their stay in South Africa, the apprentices live with their host families and actively support the “Sportgarten” project in Durban.
In recent years, KAEFER has repeatedly been awarded, including the “Goldenes Ausbildungs-Ass” in 2004 in a nationwide competition and the certificate for youth development by the Federal Labour Office in 2006. In the year 2010, a KAEFER apprentice won the German and European championships of industrial insulation technicians.
Francisca M. Gorgodian
Tel +49 421 3055 311
KAEFER holds a worldwide leading position as an integrated services and solution provider, specialising in Insulation, Access, Surface Protection, Passive Fire Protection, as well as Interior Outfitting. With an annual turnover of around €1.4 billion, KAEFER’s business is carried out in its Industry, Marine & Offshore and Construction divisions. Headquartered in Bremen, in the north of Germany, the company has operations in over 50 countries, a current workforce of 26,000 and is led by Peter Hoedemaker (Chairman of the Board of Directors).