In 2010, Volkswagen USA opened an apprenticeship program at its Chattanooga plant. In its ten years in operation, the program has trained more than 100 apprentices.
The program was inspired by a similar one in Wolfsburg that started in the early 2000s and that you may recognize from its apprentice-designed one-offs for Worthersee.
According to Ilker Subasi, assistant manager for technical training, is an important way to teach necessary skills to the people in the factory.
“Apprenticeship and educational programs date back centuries and have endured the test of time because they are truly effective ways for people to develop skills,” said Subasi. “We are proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past 10 years at the Academy and look forward to continuing to train our next generations of automotive technicians in the years and decades to come.”
And it’s not just apprentices. Chattanooga also has a program that works with high schools to give students access to a two year mechatronics program. The program offers high school and college-level courses to prepare students for a career in mechatronics.
If students are looking to get into the program, they can also sign up for the Volkswagen Academy Summer Camp. Although on hiatus due to COVID-19, the program is normally open to 14-18 year olds and offers hands on experience in robotics and automation.
“This is a great way for teenagers in the community to be involved with Volkswagen and a wonderful way for us to give back to the community as well,” said Steffi Wegener, technical training specialist at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “It’s exciting to watch the campers face challenges and use critical thinking skills to resolve issues they might encounter during an activity. This program really allows these youths to get a glimpse of some of the things we do here at the plant.”
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