They are female university candidates who are interested in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences or technology (MINT subjects), but aren’t sure yet whether a degree course in this field is the right one for them. The Niedersachsen-Technikum [Lower Saxony Technical Centre] is a consortium of companies, universities and universities of applied science in Lower Saxony who have made it their mission to find out. Within the scope of this project, over twenty female technical students from Osnabruck University visited the headquarters of the Kesseböhmer Group in Bad Essen in the middle of February 2018.
The technical centre is aimed at young women with academic or vocational qualifications entitling them to attend university who can try out MINT (maths, informatics, natural science and technology) on a six-month programme to see if it really does suit their skills and preferences. To this end, the young women get acquainted with working life in a MINT occupation at a work placement on four days of the week and attend a taster course at a university or university of applied science in Lower Saxony one day a week. Kesseböhmer is one of about a hundred companies from Lower Saxony taking part in the project along with nine universities.
Nils Pehmöller, Personnel Manager at Kesseböhmer, Holger Meyer, Head of Industrial Training, Angelina Janz, HR Manager and Head of Commercial Training, and Linda Blömer from the personnel department welcomed the technical students on behalf of the company. To start off, Angeline Janz introduced the company’s departments and products as well as the fourteen occupations requiring training and five dual work and study programmes. As an internationally active company in the metalworking industry, Kesseböhmer is one of the most successful suppliers to the furniture industry in the world. Manufacturing takes place at seven sites in Germany as well as Aschach in Austria and Budapest, Hungary. The product range includes fittings for the kitchen and living room furniture industry, shopfitting and goods presentation systems for the retail trade, ergonomic engineering for the office furniture industry and supplied parts for the automotive industry. With over 2,750 employees, the family company which was founded in 1954, generated a turnover of around 525 million euros in 2017.
Afterwards, former technical students Lauren Kalthöver and Carolin Freese, and now trainee and employee respectively at Kesseböhmer, spoke about their experiences at the company. During a guided tour of production, the technical students were able to get an idea of the innovative processes and high-quality products. Training manager, Holger Meyer, vividly described the individual production processes. The visitors were amazed by the size of the production facilities which cover a total area of about 130,000 square metres.
At the end of the event, the employees answered the visitors’ questions and spoke to them about their training and study plans. Since Kesseböhmer recruits most of their young skilled employees from their own ranks, the company employs around 160 trainees and students on dual work and study programmes and hires about 50 new trainees every year at the Bad Essen and Bohmte sites alone. Many of them remain loyal to the company after completing their training. Another technical student from this scheme will be starting her dual work and study programme at Kesseböhmer this summer.