My name is Arne Bauer and as an in-house reporter, I support the ‘Online Communications & Social Media’ section. In my series of blogs entitled ‘What is the actual role of …? I regularly report on exciting professions. For my second blog article, I am following the training manager in Ludwigsburg, Ursula Fritz.
What does a training manager in Ludwigsburg actually do?
Ursula Fritz is standing, telephone in hand, behind the desk in her office which provides an ideal view of the training workshop in Ludwigsburg. ‘The phone is constantly ringing some days’, she says. No wonder, since she looks after between 80 and 90 apprentices and students. There are currently 31 apprentices and 49 DHBW (Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University) students training at MANN+HUMMEL.
Georgios Kostakopoulos is one of these students. The ‘bits and bytes juggler’, as training manager Fritz smilingly calls him, will be working for two months in Shanghai. The two of them are discussing possible timeframes and financing for flights and accommodation. ‘That’s good’, Kostakopoulos quickly agrees with the suggested dates from his training manager.
Now the work as travel guide begins: she gets in touch with the local contact person and books the flight. ‘This is always exciting, you can never get into a routine’, says Ursula Fritz, describing the travel guide part of her training manager’s role. Until recently, travel to the Middle Kingdom had been relatively uncomplicated. Now, however, the employer must present an invitation letter before making a visa application for a strictly limited period. Ursula Fritz thinks it is well worth while, commenting that ‘Spending time abroad provides great potential to learn, both professionally and personally’.
She describes her career by saying ‘I came here to Sales quite by chance’. After completing teacher training and her probationary period, it was unexpectedly difficult to find a job at a school. On the spur of the moment, she applied for a post in Sales at MANN+HUMMEL, following a commercial course at night school in parallel with her work. After several years, the teacher applied for the position of training manager.
Encourage and challenge as a training officer
For more than 20 years, she has grown fond of countless young people who have completed their education at MANN+HUMMEL. With her experience, she now encourages flexibility: ‘I say to people, you have to be a bit open to things these days’.
Together with training officers Armin Holzinger and Nils Florian Kranich, Ursula Fritz wants to be a role model for the apprentices. ‘What I say to the apprentices, they may also say to me’. Cross-disciplinary work is carried out by apprentices and students on projects such as building a charge station or organising exhibitions. Ursula Fritz knows that: ‘This is invaluable to create mutual respect and recognition’. Her motto is ‘Encourage through appropriate challenge’. Great responsibility is assigned to apprentices in the various departments. ‘This is a distinguishing feature of our company’. All involved realise the importance of education. She is proud of the fact that many locally trained staff now hold leading positions at MANN+HUMMEL.
In addition to the many organisational tasks, Mrs. Fritz also occasionally gives in-house lessons. These might be on corporate issues such as the press conference on financial statements or school subjects like exam preparation. ‘This is what I like to do’, she says. It is also ‘extremely important’ to have regular and in-depth feedback from the apprentices and students. As an examiner for the Chamber of Commerce, Ursula Fritz herself also tests practical performance. In addition, she organises events such as Girls’ Day, school trips or information evenings for the parents of apprentices.
The fact that qualified apprentices visit their former training centre over and over again shows just how comfortable they are under the guidance of their teachers. Fabian Lehmann completed his industrial mechanics course a few years ago, and in the afternoon, he briefly drops by into the training workshop. ‘The training staff are always really committed’, he recalls. In the training workshop, it is 15:30 and the last apprentices are cleaning their machines. Calm is restored – giving Ursula Fritz the opportunity once again to glance at strategic topics as well as operational tasks.