The BIRN iron foundry in Holstebro has for the first time had an industrial technician apprentice on exchange at a company abroad. This agreement was made as part of an increased industry focus on the opportunities for study abroad that vocational training programs also offer. BIRN fully supports educational stays abroad, which provide valuable experience for young students and apprentices as well as insight into other cultures and companies that also benefit BIRN.

It didn't take 26-year-old Søren Kjær long to think about it when he got the opportunity to go on exchange at the German industrial company Krones in Flensburg, Germany. He is an industrial technician apprentice at the BIRN iron foundry in Holstebro, Denmark, and even though the foundry didn't have much experience of sending apprentices on secondment, there was full support for his proposal to head south to experience the workflows and everyday life in the German industrial company:

- In general, I think it's a great opportunity to go abroad and try working, so when the opportunity presented itself, I had no doubt about whether I should apply. Germany is a huge industrial country that is known for high quality production, so professionally I was sure it would be a learning experience, says Søren Kjær.

The secondment lasted six weeks in total, during which Søren Kjær received his apprenticeship salary from BIRN, which also covered transportation and accommodation costs. In addition, Søren Kjær had applied for and received support from the Danish Industry Apprenticeship Fund and the EU's Erasmus+ program for education, youth, and sport in Europe. The secondment itself was facilitated by the Metal Industry's Education Committee, which works purposefully to develop education for the industry, and here the opportunity for exchange in vocational training is a focus area.

- Overall, we work to get more young people to open their eyes to vocational education and training and, not least, the opportunity to take part of their education abroad - something that is perhaps typically associated with higher education, despite the fact that there are good opportunities to both receive training and work as an apprentice at a school or company abroad. Especially over the past year, we have intensified our efforts to get more young people from vocational education to go abroad during their education, and Søren's posting is a good example of what can come out of such a stay, explains Signe Tychsen Philip, Chairman of the Metal Industry's Education Committee and Deputy Director of the Confederation of Danish Industry.

For Søren Kjær, there have been plenty of good experiences and lessons learned, both professionally and personally, during his secondment:

- Krones is quite different from BIRN, and I'm really happy that I came down to a company where the tasks were not exactly the same as at home. Among other things, I got to try my hand at assembly work and building machines in 3D programs, and I tried welding for the first time in my life. Overall, it was really cool and exciting to try out other parts of my profession and I met some good friends that I still keep in touch with.

Søren - Industriteknikerlærling

The exchange has been fully supported by BIRN, even though this is the first time they have sent an industrial technician apprentice to another company:

- We want young people to learn as much as possible during their apprenticeship with us, and although we can teach them a lot, it's also good and rewarding to get out and see the world and experience how other companies work. Traveling alone without knowing a single person in the company you're posted to is a hair-raising experience, and you also come home with new experiences and insights that we as a company can draw on, says Michael Christiansen, supervisor for industrial technician apprentices at BIRN.


For further information, please contact:

Press service: Trine Kristensen, phone: +45 29 80 40 21 and email: trine@publicity.dk

 

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