A new and exciting phase of life has begun for Matis Ped and Tim Warnke, apprentice electronics technicians for devices and systems at OAS AG since August, 1st 2020. For many apprentices, the start of their training last year was different from what they might have expected. Getting an apprenticeship and starting training in the middle of the pandemic has had its fair share of hurdles.
What the beginning of their training was like and what changes, restrictions or special features have come up, Matis and Tim describe to us in their joint interview. Perhaps the two can inspire even more young people to take up this profession?
How did you hear about OAS AG and what school-leaving qualifications did you apply with?
Matis: We became aware of the OAS AG through an acquaintance and learned that a lot of value is placed on good training support here. After graduating from secondary school, I started an internship in the field of electronics in order to gain initial experience for the apprenticeship and to get an idea of what exactly to expect.
Tim: I also have a secondary school diploma and have completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter beforehand.
Were you already clear during your school years which apprenticeship you’d like to learn or was there uncertainty until you finished school?
Tim: During my time at school, it was not yet clear to me which direction I should take. I had been interested in handicrafts for a long time, so I started an apprenticeship as a carpenter. After some time, I realised that this was not the path I wanted to take in the next years. After I completed my apprenticeship as a carpenter, I knew, it was clear to me: Electronics! I’ve been doing it for almost 9 months with a lot of fun.
Matis: First and foremost, there was uncertainty between further school education or the leap into professional life. In the end, I followed my interests and came to the apprenticeship and it was absolutely the right decision!
Why did you decide to become an electronics technician for devices and systems?
Matis: I’ve always been fascinated by electronics! Together with friends we’ve often made and tried out many different objects. It never got boring – even if you could "feel" initial findings with electricity – on the contrary, one had more and more thirst for knowledge to tinker further.
Tim: For me, too, the field of electronics has been interesting for a long time. I simply enjoy taking devices apart and putting them back together again.
What were your first impressions?
Tim: I got to know OAS as a steadily growing and diversified company. The different departments make it very interesting, but at the same time it is difficult to get to know all the colleagues in such a short time, as we don’t go through every department during our training and are spread over two buildings. But so far I’ve only met friendly and helpful colleagues.
Matis: I see it the same way as Tim. We were immediately welcomed into the team in a friendly manner, were able to exchange ideas with everyone and ask for help if necessary, which made the start much easier, especially as there have been two of us starting this year.
What did you expect from your apprenticeship and did your wishes come true?
Matis: At the beginning of my training, I wanted to start soldering and wiring straight away. In fact, it didn't take long for the first soldered products to emerge. A short time later, I was also allowed to work on the somewhat more demanding remote displays; so I can say that my first ideas were actually realised.
Tim: The last few months, since the start of the training, have gone by so fast; I can't say too much about it yet, but the direction it's going in looks promising. I’m curious to see what else awaits us.
What does your working day look like?
Tim: Absolutely many-sided! I help with various tasks, such as building a remote display, preparing document output trays or building a complete terminal in switchgear construction. In between, Matis and I work on a few tasks together.
Matis: Punctually at 7:00 a.m. the computer is already ready to start. First I check my e-mails and go to the company's "news room" so as not to miss any important information. Depending on the agreement with our training supervisor, e.g. I go troubleshooting on electronic devices, learn how to use measuring devices or work on new projects. Of course, there are also everyday organisational things such as taking turns on "kitchen duty", i.e. cleaning out the dishwasher, checking the stock of drinks and food, but this is rarely the case.
What educational and personal requirements should I have for the profession?
Matis: An interest in mathematics and physics is an important factor and some knowledge of English is important in any profession today. Experience with tools such as soldering irons, side cutters or ratchets is definitely advantageous.
Tim: A good school leaving certificate makes sense in every respect. A certain interest and understanding of electronics / electrical engineering should be present and of course the fun for the field should not be missing, because it never gets boring.
How would you describe your job?
Tim: My previous areas of expertise include the manufacture and maintenance of electronic devices and equipment. From small repairs and functional tests to working on new systems.
Matis: Definitely varied and interesting! My previous areas also include activities in the warehouse, whereby I learned how to safely control a pallet truck, or the incoming and outgoing goods with correct packaging of sensitive goods, such as measuring devices, and the acceptance of consignments of goods as well as the allocation of products in the warehouse.
How long does the apprenticeship take and which subjects are particularly important at vocational school? At the present time, the lessons are surely organised a little differently than usual?
Matis/Tim: Our vocational training lasts 3.5 years. The subject areas mathematics, physics and English are very important. The classes, despite the Corona pandemic, are very well organised. We communicate with teachers via e-mail or the learning platform "itslearning", which makes it a little easier for everyone involved in the current situation. We’re also getting IPads for school and to make home learning easier.
What makes OAS a good apprenticeship employer?
Tim/Matis: Both of us have experienced that there are really friendly and helpful colleagues throughout the company, you don't have to be ashamed to ask for help. There is also a pleasant working atmosphere and you don't get bored because there is always something to do.
Which department would you like to spend a day in?
Matis: I’m interested in plant engineering, i.e. the planning, construction and commissioning of a plant, such as a bulk materials plant. I’d like to know how to manage a large project and what the project manager looks for, what factors play a role.
Tim: Besides the field of electrical engineering, I also find the IT field challenging. I’d like to spend a few hours there and learn more about the current topics and projects.
What advice would you give to a new apprentice?
Tim/Matis: We recommend: Don't be shy and ask questions! If you’re unsure, ask, always show interest and never lose your motivation to learn something new. Everyone makes mistakes, we all learn something every day!
What opportunities do you see after the apprenticeship?
Tim: With this training, you’ve many options, e.g. to become a master craftsman, to become a technician in the field of electrical engineering or to start a degree programme with a focus on electrical engineering.
Matis: Alternatively, you can study after the apprenticeship, do your Bachelor's/Master's degree or become a technician in the field of electrical engineering.
We would like to thank Matis and Tim for the open words and the small insight into the first year of training and wish them both continued success in their training.
Germany will continue to need well-trained skilled workers in the future. OAS offers an interesting choice of professions in various fields.
Looking for an apprenticeship, go to the career section here.