50 additional places on vocational training courses in Germany, 20 in Italy, and 15 each in Portugal and Spain
Bosch earmarks 7.5 million euros over four years
Bosch CEO Denner: “Joint task for politicians, businesses, and society.”
Stuttgart – Bosch is offering an additional 100 places on its technical vocational training schemes in Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain to young people from Southern Europe. The initiative, which will take effect from the 2014 training year, is a response to high rates of youth unemployment in Southern Europe. The 50 new training places in Germany will be filled by applicants from Spain, while an additional 50 young people outside Germany will follow the program at Bosch locations in Italy, Portugal, and Spain. The technology and services company has set aside some 7.5 million euros in funding for the initiative over the next four years. The decision on whether to continue the initiative in future years will depend on the success of the initial program and ongoing developments in Southern European job markets. Some six million young people are unemployed across Europe – and the jobless rate among young people in some Southern European countries currently stands at more than 50 percent.
Youth unemployment – shared responsibility “Combating youth unemployment in Europe is a joint task for politicians, businesses, and society. All of us share responsibility for this, including Bosch. We want to play our part,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH. Youth unemployment not only has a negative impact on the economy; it also undermines political structures. Experts have long highlighted the risk of young people turning their backs on basic democratic principles if they feel they have no prospects. Christoph Kübel, Member of the Board of Management and Director of Industrial Relations at Bosch, also emphasizes the importance of people getting their working life off to a good start: “These early stages really set the course of people’s subsequent careers. Good training gives young people the chance to determine their own path.”
Training in Germany with intercultural support The young people eligible for the scheme will be recruited by the Bosch regional companies. Since training capacities at Bosch locations outside Germany are limited, 50 young people from Spain will be trained at German locations. The successful applicants will also get an opportunity to take a language course in Spain as part of the preparations for starting their training in Germany at the end of summer 2014. This will be followed by a three month internship at Bosch in Germany. The young people will receive intercultural training and assistance throughout their stay in Germany thanks to a joint initiative between Bosch and the vocational training company BBQ, a subsidiary of the Education Institute of Baden-Württemberg Industry and Commerce (Bildungswerk der Baden-Württembergischen Wirtschaft e.V.).
Stuttgart – If employees in Germany and elsewhere are currently packing their suitcases, it doesn’t always mean they’re heading off on vacation. Many are being sent abroad by their employers. Among these are specialists and executives who spend a few years abroad for their company. The objective is for them to share their knowledge with local colleagues, acquire new specialist competence, and gain international experience. At Bosch, the supplier of technology and services, several thousand associates also work abroad each year in regional subsidiaries around the globe. In 2012, more than 5,600 associates were on assignments outside their home countries. To help associates settle into their new cultures and to facilitate their re-integration into their home countries, systematic support before, during, and after the assignment is important.
“Right from the beginning of their time abroad, associates should start thinking about their return,” says Andreas Bäuerle, who is in charge of international assignments at Bosch. “This explains why our international assignments are limited to four years. Moreover, our associates receive a guarantee that they will be able to return to a job in the company that sent them abroad.”
An poorly prepared return often means dissatisfied associates. In some cases, they may even change employers shortly after returning. At Bosch, by contrast, the rate of turnover one year after the end of an international assignment is very low. The number of people who end their assignments prematurely is likewise under one percent. According to the HR expert Bäuerle, associates who want their long-term assignment to be successful should pay particular attention to the following points:
Pre-assignment talk: Two to four months before the assignment, its labor-law, tax-related, and financial aspects should be discussed. The associate’s partner should also be involved in the discussion, particularly when they also intend to find work abroad. The company can often help its associates’ partners in this respect.
Reconnaissance trip: This gives associates the chance to get to know their new place of work, new city, and new country together with their partner. The associated costs are usually paid by the company.
Intercultural preparatory seminar: This prepares associates and their partners for the new culture, its lifestyle, and its idiosyncrasies, and makes it easier to overcome any culture shock.
Language course: These help associates and their partners integrate into their new surroundings better, also in their private lives.
Mentoring program: A mentor from a higher hierarchical level supervises the associate and supports them on their return. He or she also helps with the internal job search ahead of time.
Network: Future expatriates can benefit from the country-specific expertise of associates who have completed international assignments. The exchange of experience is useful for preparation and for re-adjustment.
International assignments encourage diversity and networking At Bosch, international assignments are a key element of HR policy. The cross-border exchange that happens when associates are sent abroad helps to facilitate two-way knowledge transfer between the regions. “International assignments play an important role in networking our associates. They also help us see things from different perspectives,” says Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH. “This global knowledge transfer and intercultural exchange are part of our program to promote the diversity we need as a seedbed of new ideas.”
International experience as career stepping-stone The majority of executives at Bosch have spent at least two years abroad over the course of their careers. But shorter assignments are also attractive for both employers and employees. Last year, Bosch sent some 2,900 associates on short-term assignments, which last between approximately three and twenty-four months. An assignment abroad is one of five career stepping-stones which executives must fulfill in order to reach the next hierarchical level. International assignments have a long tradition at Bosch. As early as 1905, when the first Bosch manufacturing facility outside Germany was established, senior engineers came from Paris to Stuttgart in order to transfer knowledge and the corporate culture to the French location.
21 scholarships for budding business leaders from sub-Saharan Africa
More than 3,000 applicants in third year
German federal president Joachim Gauck is initiative’s patron
Stuttgart – An opportunity for Africa: Bosch is one of 16 companies fostering budding business leaders in Africa with the “Afrika kommt!” initiative. Thanks to scholarships offered by these companies, 21 talented young people from sub-Saharan Africa can spend a year in Germany completing a professional training program. During their stay in Germany, the African scholarship recipients will have the chance to expand their personal networks, participate in training opportunities, get to know German culture, and broaden their international horizons. The program includes nine months of specialist training at the participating companies, and also entails intensive language training. An extensive series of weekend events will be offered as part of the program by both the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Stuttgart, whose events will emphasize training and civic commitment, and the Zeit Stiftung in Hamburg, which will focus on culture and the media.
At a reception for the budding African business leaders in Berlin, Joachim Gauck, the German federal president and patron of the initiative, praised the program. He noted that the initiative supplements classic development cooperation with personal contact and business interaction to help boost economic development within African countries themselves. The initiative is being supported by the federal foreign office under the auspices of the federal government’s strategy for Africa, and also involves the participation of German embassies in sub-Saharan Africa. “Afrika kommt!” was initiated by Tilman Todenhöfer, a managing partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG. As Todenhöfer explains, “Our goal is to foster mutual exchange and learning between budding African business leaders and companies.” He believes this offers an important basis for the expansion of business relations between Europe and Africa. “We want to establish long-term cooperation from which everyone can benefit.”
Increasing applicant numbers For the initiative’s third round, more than 3,000 applications from highly-qualified junior managers were submitted. A demanding selection process whittled down the shortlist to 85 candidates from 17 African countries, from which 21 scholarship recipients were chosen. “The support of the federal president, the increase in applicant numbers, and above all the high quality of the applications received are highly encouraging, and strengthen our resolve to keep this program running,” Todenhöfer said. “Despite all its political and economic challenges, Africa has great potential, particularly for multinational companies. We have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
The participants from Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Tanzania come from a variety of sectors, including finance, marketing, engineering, and science. They all have several years of job experience, and some used to work in management positions in their home countries. Kelechi Udeozor, a 28-year-old from Nigeria, is one of them. Beginning in October 2013, he will spend nine months at Bosch in Karlsruhe, gaining experience in the Automotive Aftermarket division. The participants will travel back home at the end of June 2014. The initiative has a long-term orientation: participants can join an alumni network in order to maintain an active exchange with each other and with the participating companies. In early 2015, a two-week follow-up event will take place in Germany.
About the “Africa kommt!” initiative The “Afrika kommt!” initiative was launched in 2008 as a joint effort of 19 German companies and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Since then, 37 participants have completed the program. The program is planned, organized, and assessed by GIZ, while the partner companies cover the program’s costs. The budding business leaders from the sub-Saharan region of Africa – 49 of the 54 countries on the continent – receive a stipend to cover their living costs for the duration of their time in Germany.
Information on the initiative (English version accessible through language selection on the website): www.afrika-kommt.de
Over 230 participants and 25 race cars lined up for testing
Bosch Group supporting 36 teams across Europe
On July 12 and 13, the Bosch proving ground in Boxberg saw more than 230 members of European Formula Student teams sponsored by the Bosch Group participating in the company’s yearly testing workshop. As in previous years, the teams had the opportunity to test vehicles they designed and built themselves under race conditions and to optimize them for Formula Student Germany (FSG). “The workshop allowed us to prepare our cars for FSG and to exchange ideas with the engineers and experts at Bosch. We rarely get such ideal test conditions and such a big track to work with,” says Dominic Mildenberger, president of RWTH Aachen University’s Ecurie Aix racing team. “Here in Boxberg we run through all the tests, including scrutineering and various tests of acceleration and endurance – just as we do at the FSG race at the Hockenheimring,” continues Mildenberger.
Steady growth of Bosch sponsorship activities Since 2007, Bosch has been supporting selected teams as they participate in Formula Student competitions in Germany and around the world. This year, the Bosch Group is sponsoring 36 university teams from Germany, Austria, France, and the UK. Additional teams from the USA, India, China, and Brazil will also be supported. Bosch’s sponsorship revolves around activities such as expert workshops addressing wiring harness design, safety when working with high voltages, and measurement techniques, as well as holding vehicle-testing events. Teams also receive support in the form of motor racing components, measuring equipment, and financial resources. Expert advice and help handling components complete the Bosch Group’s Formula Student support package. These activities go down well with the teams receiving the support: “Bosch sponsorship means we get important electric and electronic components for our car – and it gives us the opportunity to take part in workshops for wiring harness design or for vehicle testing. Without our longstanding partnership with Bosch, we wouldn’t be able to carry out this project so successfully or run a car demonstrating such a high standard of engineering,” says Stephan Rienmüller, organizational head of the Johanneum Racing team from the University of Applied Sciences in Graz.
Bosch also benefits from its longstanding commitment to Formula Student, as it has provided the company and subsidiaries ETAS GmbH and Bosch Engineering with many highly qualified new recruits over the years. “Getting involved in Formula Student makes for a win-win situation for participants and supporting companies. Bosch offers support to highly motivated and qualified potential recruits as they work on an exciting and interdisciplinary project. At the same time, we can showcase ourselves as an attractive and innovative employer,” says Bernhard Bihr, the president of Bosch Engineering, a subsidiary of the Bosch Group specializing in engineering services. “As of the end of 2012, Bosch Engineering had taken on 50 engineers who were previously involved in Formula Student,” explains Bihr.
Preparation for working life It’s not the fastest car that wins Formula Student, but rather the best overall concept. Students plan, design, and build their cars themselves, as well as coming up with a business plan and marketing concept. A panel of judges from the motor racing, automotive, and automotive supply industries assess the race cars according to a total of eight criteria, including design, efficiency, acceleration, and fuel consumption. “The competition is an excellent way of preparing for working life,” says Karl Klöss, system engineer for battery systems and high-voltage onboard electronics at Bosch Engineering in Abstatt. Until a year ago, Klöss was head of battery development for DHBW Ravensburg’s Formula Student team, Global Formula Racing. “During my time competing in Formula Student, I learnt many things that I can apply to my job today, for instance the importance of interfaces. It’s not just individual technical components that make up a car but also the way they work together and the synergies that can be harnessed within the system as a whole. This is just as true for a team of people: whether it’s within Formula Student or in working life, it’s important to work together as a team, to exchange views, and to have an exciting project to work on together.”
A competition of international standing The FSG is organized under the auspices of the VDI, the association of German engineers. In the eight years since it was launched, it has become one of the most important international design competitions for young engineers. At this year’s FSG, from July 30 to August 4, 2013, a total of 115 teams and more than 2,500 students will be competing against each other with race cars they designed and built themselves. In addition to Formula Student Germany, Formula Student and Formula SAE competitions are held across the world.