The paid apprenticeship allows high school graduates – aged around 17 or 18 – to learn skills through on-the-job training, accompanied by a college course to obtain theoretical grounding.
Lukas Schoenwetter, director human resources, Bühler Aeroglide, told FoodProductionDaily.com what the company looks for when recruiting apprentices.
Well-rounded, pragmatic people
“We are looking for people interested in a career in manufacturing, people who are smart enough to go to college, but want to do something with their hands,” he said.
“We’re looking for well –rounded characters, pragmatic people, perhaps with some experience in the manufacturing area already – maybe they have taken a course in welding at high school.”
The program is based on the European apprenticeship model in place at Bühler headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland.
Apprenticeships last for four years and cover subjects including automation, engineering and design, and building and fabrication. The aim is to give them a broad understanding of manufacturing.
“That’s a concept from the European-based apprenticeships – they’re very rounded. At the end of the apprenticeship you know quite a lot about the trade,” said Schoenwetter.
From factory floor to college classroom
Apprenticeships allow the company to build up a pipeline of workers, at the skill level they need, he added.
“We are having a tough time to get well-rounded and skilled workers. Even if people say they can weld, they can’t weld on the level we are looking for,” he said.
“We believe in investing in young adults and giving them the chance to learn the trade and proceed in our company. It has a lot to do with building up the ability to provide quality work.”
Bühler Aeroglide’s first apprentices are starting their program this month. They will spend the majority of the time on the factory floor, but also attend Wake Technical Community College.
Bühler Aeroglide manufactures dryers, ovens, roasters, toasters, and hot air expansion systems for the food, feed and industrial product markets.
As a business unit of Bühler, Aeroglide is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, US. It is a co-founder of the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Programme.