Apprentice interview Production Engineer
What is a typical day like?
On the early shift, I start at 5.30 in the morning and start by preparing the tool. During the shift handover, I find out what happened on the previous shift. So for example whether there were any quality issues or other anomalies that I need to focus on in particular during the day. Then my shift begins.
My shifts change weekly, so I work one week on the early shift (from 5.30a, to 1.30pm) and the next week on the late shift (from 1.30pm to 9.30pm).
What tasks do you carry out a lot? What tasks have you learned to do up until now?
Changing the rolls, packing rolls, entering in SAP, opening fibre bales. Also making sure the weight and thickness are correct when checking the nonwoven. If the grammage isn't right, I change the setting on the mixing equipment, and lots of other jobs. When there is a shift change, I check that the extraction isn't obstructed. I generally have to keep my eyes peeled at all times to make sure everything is working.
What other departments are you learning about during your apprenticeship?
My training plan includes assignments in packaging, in the laboratory, in metalworking and in production. So I will become familiar with the departments further along and will have a better understanding of how they work and what they do.
Where is your main place of work?
Currently at production line 4. I am currently working on the mixing equipment there. That is where the fibres (our raw material) are blended and prepared for the further manufacturing process.
What do you enjoy most about the work? What do you like best?
I like working on the large machines. I enjoy taking responsibility.
What things hadn't you expected beforehand? What surprised you about the apprenticeship?
When there are problems with the nonwovens plant, we have to identify the issue quickly and resolve it. It is very challenging, but then it's great when we have found the fault and the plant is running smoothly again.
Which vocational college do you attend? What is a typical day like at your vocational college?
I attend the textiles college in Münchberg. Because it is in Bavaria, we have teaching in blocks. That means that we spend two weeks at a time there. During these block phase, I live in the 'AWO Wohnheim' student accommodation. Around 90 to 95% of the vocational students are housed there. You of course have to be very independent during these periods. I get at 7.00 in the morning, and get to college etc. The teaching specialises in textiles in particular, which is a big advantage, but also quite challenging at times. After each college block, we apprentices discuss the content with our trainers in the company so that we can make a better connection between theory and practice, and clarify any unanswered questions.
Which subjects are you studying at vocational college?
German, Technical Drawing, Weaving, Nonwovens, Yarn Production, Production Planning, Social Studies, Maths etc.
What tips can you give applicants who are applying for this apprenticeship?
I recommend first doing an internship as a Production Engineer. So you will know what is expected of you and have an idea of what working on big machines involves.
How are you supported at TWE during yourapprenticeship?
We receive help when there are problems. My first point of contact is actually my trainer. But the bosses, shift leaders and other colleagues in the plants answer my questions and help me as well. All the apprentices meet with our managers on a regular basis. You can get things off your chest there if something isn't going so well, or you have requirements or questions with respect to the training. For example, at the last meeting we talked about the fact that we are all going to Frankfurt together this year to a large trade fair for technical textiles so that we can see what happens with the products that we manufacture, and how a trade fair like this is organised.
Do you have any plans once you complete your apprenticeship?
I would like to carry on working at TWE for a few years and then train as an Engineer.
When you think back, what were your first days at TWE like?
In the beginning, everything was completely new to me, of course. A lot of unfamiliar faces, new work tasks, a different environment, enormous production facilities. But over time you get to know people and everything that's going on, and you feel more and more at home. In the beginning, I had to assert myself with my new colleagues. If they have a good impression of you, they will help you wherever they can.