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“… cultivation of hard-working, skilled young people” – The training workshop

Special aptitude tests were developed for recruitment purposes, 1926

Bosch was determined that his own company’s apprentices should have a better experience than he himself had done!

Bad experiences

Robert Bosch had not been particularly happy during his own apprenticeship. Eager to learn, the young man was deeply disappointed by the content of the apprenticeship and above all his instructor. This ultimately led to the apprentice workshop of the company then known as Robert Bosch AG being founded on April 1, 1913.

Yet despite this extensive portfolio, orders were often sparse during the early years, leaving Bosch struggling to keep his workforce busy and pay their wages. Still, he wanted to do the best he could by them.

Skilled training

Technical classroom for industry apprentices, Feuerbach, 1925
Technical classroom for industry apprentices, Feuerbach, 1925

To be able to train more skilled workers in Stuttgart, Robert Bosch recruited a former colleague from his days in Nuremberg. His name was August Utzinger. Utzinger modernized the Bosch apprenticeship program by bringing together apprentices who had previously been spread over several workshops. Dedicated rooms were set aside for practical and theoretical lessons. The apprenticeships were in high demand, because a certificate from Bosch was worth a great deal.

Microtechnology training includes internships at the wafer factory in Reutlingen.
Microtechnology training includes internships at the wafer factory in Reutlingen. This photo from 1999 shows the visual inspection of a semiconductor chip in typical clean-room clothing.

New approaches

Occupations have changed fundamentally since 1913 – as has the content of training. A great deal of manual work was previously involved, whereas today’s trainees need to be conversant with the latest technologies.

However, the training of young people is structured very differently in different countries. The German training system became a leading export and this is increasingly the case.

Kathrin Fastnacht

I am the head of Historical Communications at Robert Bosch GmbH, and I work on preserving and communicating our company’s long and multifaceted history. Before joining Bosch in 2007, I was employed for over ten years in various museums in an academic capacity. I also worked freelance in the same field. As a historian and specialist in cultural studies, I want to show that history is far from dusty and lifeless, but rather relevant and exciting.

Picture of Kathrin Fastnacht

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