When Julia Steinbacher was a youngster, she dreamed of having a career where she could work with animals. Then she realized that there were no suitable training opportunities near her hometown. Julia did a range of different internships while she was still at school to find out what alternative route her career path could take. There she discovered she really enjoyed technical work. She chose to begin an apprenticeship to become an industrial mechanic at OSRAM. Once she received her high school diploma, off she went.
Julia is now in the second year of her apprenticeship and is preparing for her intermediate examination. She has no regrets in choosing this career training path. “There is absolutely no way I could work in an office, sitting in front of a computer all day long. I wanted a job that was varied, where I could do a lot of different things – sometimes working at a workbench, sometimes at a computer. And I don’t really like sitting for very long, so it was important for me that I be able to stand and walk around at work.”
Learning in a safe atmosphere
Industrial mechanics are responsible for the maintenance, repair and assembly of technical systems at OSRAM. “We also ensure that operational facilities are updated to suit changing conditions on an ongoing basis.” Like all technical trainees at OSRAM, the 18-year-old spent the first year of her apprenticeship in the company’s own proprietary trainee workshop. It was opened just in time for Julia to start her apprenticeship.
The 300-square-meter workshop is divided into different areas for electrical and metalworking professions. In addition to industrial mechanics, electrical engineers for operating technology, industrial electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and plant operators learn their craft there. There are also highly modern lab and programming workspaces where IT specialists and mechatronics technicians can gain realistic practical experience, for example. Even the technical product designers, industrial managers and students on a dual course for both mechanical engineering and electrical engineering complete their basic training here at the start of their apprenticeship for six to eight weeks.
The trainee workshop is equipped with a range of cutting-edge workspaces and machinery. “We use the workshop to practice and experiment outside of the normal production facility,” says Julia. “We learn how to work at workbenches and lathes, we mill, file, bore and work on different materials. We even built a compressed air reciprocating engine. You get two folders that list all of the different parts. There’s a drawing with the exact measurements for each component and instructions on how to manufacture it.
Perspectives on math and physics
Once she’s passed her intermediate examination, Julia will spend the time remaining in her internship in different departments. She is the only woman in her class of seven industrial mechanic trainees. She attends vocational school one or two days a week where she gains the theoretical knowledge she needs for her work. “If you decide to go for this kind of training, you’re expected to already have some insight into math and physics,” explains Julia. For her, that’s no problem. “I really enjoyed those subjects at school.”
Julia hopes to be hired by OSRAM once she completes her training. “Industrial mechanics make for really versatile hires. I’m not worried about my future,” she says. “I can also imagine going on to do a degree in engineering once I’ve completed my apprenticeship.” But for now she’s concentrating on her intermediate examination and the next two years of her apprenticeship. In the meantime, horse enthusiast Julia has learned that OSRAM also manufactures products for animals. “We produce fluorescent lamps that provide artificial sunlight for birds, fish or reptiles, for example. And our infrared lamps provide warmth for puppies, piglets and chicks.” It’s nice that Julia’s job has something to do with animals, even if indirectly.
“Industrial mechanics make for really versatile hires. I’m not worried about my future.”
Apprentice Industrial Mechanic