Qualification within the Berufsfamilien

The provision of initial and in-service training to the highest standards across the Volkswagen Group is immensely important for our enduring success as a top technology company. Qualification and personnel development for Volkswagen Group employees is based on the concept of professional families (“Berufsfamilien”). A “Berufsfamilie” includes all employees with shared expertise whose jobs require related skills. The Berufsfamilie is, therefore, the specialist “home” of every individual employee within the Group, from apprentices right up to senior experts, and the skills requirements of each Berufsfamilie determine individual employees’ needs for qualification. At almost all brands and companies these needs are identified at least once a year in the individual employee appraisal or qualification appraisal. Learning and teaching in Berufsfamilien follow the dual model of vocational education and training, in which theory and practice are closely linked.
This form of qualification requires a high level of organization. Training “Academies” are in place for a growing number of Berufsfamilien and organize cooperative learning across brands and locations. Qualification within the 36 Berufsfamilien currently takes place at 13 Berufsfamilien Academies. These are grouped under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group Academy, whose aim is to leverage synergies and ensure an outstanding level of qualification across the Group.

Vocational Education and Training in Line with the Dual Model

Vocational education and training at Volkswagen is based on the dual model, and from the very first day, our apprentices are trained within a Berufsfamilie. The apprentices alternate regularly between blocks of classroom learning in a vocational school, periods in a training center and a range of assignments within a plant. This ensures that they have the best possible preparation for their future employment as young specialists or skilled workers within the relevant Berufsfamilie.
Each year, Volkswagen AG invites school students to hands-on experience days. Current apprentices and trainers brief them on what is involved in the various technical and commercial training professions and dual apprenticeships offered by Volkswagen. In 2014, hands-on experience days were held in Wolfsburg, Hanover, Braunschweig, Kassel, Emden and Salzgitter. Similar information events were also staged by the Audi, Porsche and MAN brands.

Hands-on experience days provide young people with an insight into various professions as well as vocational education and training opportunities with the Group.

Dual Vocational Education and Training Goes Global

Just how seriously we take our responsibility for the next generation is demonstrated by the importance that Volkswagen assigns to vocational education and training. In December 2014, the Volkswagen Group was training 18,459 apprentices and students around the world in some 60 professions and 50 dual apprenticeships. Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH and Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH alone trained 5,418 apprentices in more than 30 professions and some 20 dual apprenticeships, once again more than in the previous year. In recent years the Group has rolled out the dual model of vocational education and training in many locations outside Germany. Over three-quarters of all apprentices within the Group are currently being trained in line with this system, not only in Germany but also in Spain, Hungary, Russia, the USA, Mexico, India and China. A ceremony held in October 2014 saw the 43 best former apprentices from a total of 18 countries and 38 locations receive “Best Apprentice” awards. For the first time, former apprentices from Volkswagen India, Volkswagen Group of America and Volkswagen Group Retail Deutschland were among those receiving awards.
In 2012, SEAT became the first Spanish company to instigate dual vocational education and training, and in 2014, the company’s qualification program won it the Business Prize of the Chamber of Foreign Trade for Spain and the Francesc Maciá award, the Catalan government’s top award for outstanding performance in the area of employment. Since 2012, we have also been building on existing close cooperation with China’s Ministry of Education in the area of vocational education and training. As part of this cooperation, China’s Minister of Education, Prof. Guiren Yuan, visited Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant in October 2014. Volkswagen AG will be supporting the construction of further competence centers for teacher training in China.

Special Vocational Education and Training Projects

Tomorrow’s World of Work

In-Service Training for Young Skilled Workers

As part of the consistent roll-out of the dual model of vocational education and training, young skilled workers are being qualified through training that closely links theory with on-the-job learning. Here the young people are supported by more experienced colleagues. This model for learning in tandem is vital: the best way of passing on knowledge and experience is face to face. Particularly talented apprentices are supported through “Talent Groups” at each location. This two-year development and skills training program recruits the best ten percent of apprentices from each year’s intake, with an emphasis on the individual development of technical excellence.

In 2014, Volkswagen AG recruited a total of 330 graduates in Germany, of whom around 30% were female.

In October 2014, the Group Board of Management and the Group Global Works Council presented the 14th “Best Apprentice Awards” to the Group’s top apprentices. Awards were presented to 11 women and 32 men from a total of 18 countries and 38 locations.

Fostering Graduates

Volkswagen AG recruits and fosters young graduates though the Student Talent Bank and the Academic Talent Pool. Volkswagen has been using the Student Talent Bank since 1998 to bring on particularly able students in workplace-related and cross-functional areas. The aim is to boost these former interns’ commitment to the Company and to give them the best possible preparation for embarking on a career with Volkswagen, for example through talks and presentations, seminars, and trips.
Shortly before they graduate or complete their doctorate, these talented students are then moved into the Academic Talent Pool, a recruitment tool that provides the Company with a way to identify individuals with potential for graduate-level entry into a specialized area within Volkswagen.

StartUp Trainee Programs

Trainees starting their careers with Volkswagen benefit from systematic structures such as the StartUp Direct program for graduates, designed to enable trainees to acquire an in-depth familiarization with the area in which they will be working in future. StartUp Direct trainees also spend two years undertaking a range of qualification measures, giving them an opportunity to get to know Volkswagen in detail and to build their own network.
The StartUp Cross program is aimed at graduates with an international focus. The aim of the 18-month program is to familiarize trainees with the Company as a whole and to help them build an extensive national and international network. Trainees therefore complete project placements of a few weeks in different parts of the  ompany and in various locations both in Germany and abroad. Both StartUp programs also include a placement in the production sector lasting several weeks. Since 2008, over 3,100 trainees have gained their first experience of Volkswagen in this way.

The StartUp Cross program is aimed at graduates with an international focus.

Entry Options for Young Engineers from Southern Europe

Promoting Intercultural Understanding

The Volkswagen Group promotes intercultural understanding between young employees through a program enabling them to work abroad, known as the “Wanderjahre” (years abroad – the singular is “Wanderjahr”) program. The name alludes to the tradition among newly-qualified craftsmen of travelling the world and gaining experience. Since 2006, young people at the start of their career have had the opportunity, on completion of their training, to spend 12 months working for a Group company outside their home country. A total of 37 Volkswagen Group locations in 19 countries are now involved in this development program. And for the very first time, one employee started her Wanderjahr at the plant in Tianjin (China). So far, 456 young employees from across the Volkswagen Group have taken up this opportunity. In 2014, 51 participants from Germany and eleven from a further six countries embarked on their Wanderjahre at one of the Group’s locations.

Numerous Qualification Measures Available

The Volkswagen Group Academy offers employees a wide range of qualification measures. Along with general in-service training courses and qualification within the Berufsfamilien, these also include personnel management development programs. During 2014, a total of 86,193 participants benefited from 10,196 qualification measures organized by the Volkswagen Group Academy, representing 214,621 participant-days. In the product technology and product quality areas, 16,495 participants attended 2,267 in-service training and qualification measures over 36,125 participant-days, while in the field of cross-functional qualification, 35,515 participants attended 2,844 courses over 103,462 participant-days. A total of 334 new programs and training measures were introduced during the reporting year, ensuring that in-service training provision continues to reflect the Company’s current needs.

Standards for Personnel Development in Leadership and Management

In early 2014, the Volkswagen, Audi, MAN, SEAT, ŠKODA and Porsche brands agreed uniform standards for the personnel development of future leaders and managers within the Volkswagen Group. Within Volkswagen Deutschland alone, more than 190 leadership, Meister (group leader) and management qualification measures were held in 2014, including assessment centers for aspiring managers. Outside Germany, the Volkswagen Group Academy ran a total of some 60 courses for leaders, Meister and managers and assessment centers for aspiring managers in the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom and in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa and the USA. 2014 saw the ongoing roll-out of personnel development programs at the Bentley, SEAT and ŠKODA brands. Group locations outside Germany also staged some 400 qualification and selection events of their own for future leaders and managers. MAN, too, places great emphasis on training its employees and raising their awareness: MAN Truck & Bus continued its successful “Manage Responsibly” leadership training program, first launched in 2012, with trainee managers implementing MAN’s Corporate Responsibility and Climate Strategy in their own areas of responsibility.

Vocational training is crucial to the development of an outstanding team.

Training the Trainers

In 2014, we placed particular emphasis on the cross-locational and cross-brand qualification of the trainers who deliver our programs for leaders, Meister and managers, as well as of the assessment center facilitators. This will enable us to ensure comparable quality across the Group. The “Volkswagen Group Academy Campus” initiative, which has been running since 2012, continues to be rolled out and provides a series of events designed to develop a global pool of trainers and facilitators. In 2014, around 70 participants from around the world took part in two such events. For the first time, face-to-face training ran alongside online learning programs and virtual networks for this target group.

Academic In-Service Training at the AutoUni

Under the auspices of the Volkswagen Group Academy, the AutoUni provides a source of specialist academic knowledge. It has nine institutes and works with the Berufsfamilien Academies and partner universities to provide training for the Group’s experts and top specialists. Its wide range of training formats ensures that the wealth of knowledge held within the Group, at universities and by private sector experts is passed on and new knowledge generated. The areas the AutoUni focuses on include electric traction, innovative drivetrains, lightweight design and the sustainability of transport systems. The Institute of Computer Science, set up in 2013, was expanded in 2014 to focus on two key areas, the digital workplace of the future and IT security. A further new institute, the Institute for Quality, was also set up during the reporting year. The AutoUni is closely involved in a range of research projects and collaborates with leading international universities, research institutes and research centers on graduate and postgraduate research. In 2014, the Group supervised over 500 doctoral students working on areas relevant to the Group in the various Volkswagen Group companies within Germany. The AutoUni, which is based in Wolfsburg, has also made its courses available outside Germany for some years now. In 2014, for example, its work was extended to locations in Bratislava (Slovakia), Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic) and the Chinese locations of Changchun, Shanghai and Beijing. In 2014, around 8,600 people took part in over 180 AutoUni courses. The AutoUni also supplies more than 750 speakers each year, almost half of them from the automotive engineering sector.

Promoting the Next Generation and Developing Talent – at a Glance

Show table
Program   Target group   Focus   Area  

Talent groups for young skilled workers

Talented young people who have completed their vocational education and training

Individual development of specialized and cross-disciplinary skills

Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Financial Services AG, Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH
“Wanderjahre” program
Qualified apprentices
Promoting intercultural mobility and experience Volkswagen Group
Student Talent Bank High-performing current students Developing and engaging potential recruits ­Volks­wa­gen AG
Academic Talent Pool
High-performing students and doctoral candidates close to completing their studies Recruitment tool
Volkswagen AG: Wolfsburg and Hanover locations
StartUp programs/
trainee programs
University graduates

Company familiarization, promotion and development, building national and international networks through project work Volkswagen Group
StartUp Europe
Young engineers from Spain, Portugal and Italy Recruitment of international talent, social commitment Volkswagen Group

Networking Academic Knowledge

The AutoUni supports doctoral students by providing seminars on academic writing, while its doctoral colloquium offers them the opportunity to present their work-in-progress to a Group-wide audience and discuss their theses. AutoUni also advises and supports the Volkswagen Group in identifying appropriate academic partners from within research and teaching. It networks the individuals responsible for university contacts within the Group to create synergies between brands and companies and to ensure that the processes are consistent. To provide impetus for basic research in the area of storage technology, in 2014 the international “Science Award Electrochemistry” was again presented by Volkswagen and BASF. The award went to Dr. Vanessa Wood from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, in recognition of outstanding research findings related to lithium-ion batteries.