Promoting Talent Because People Matter Most

Volkswagen's Take on Excellence, Success, and Involvement
Jul 18, 2014 1:15 PM ET

Securing excellent performance, generating success and enabling employees to share in the profits are central to the Volkswagen Group’s personnel management (PM) strategy. The key aims of the Group’s PM work are, therefore, qualifying our employees, promoting their health and fitness, and ensuring that they are involved. We are explicitly committed to diversity within the Company and support it through open attitudes, equal opportunities, and the targeted advancement of women.

The increasingly international nature of the Volkswagen Group and its complexity are the key challenges facing our PM work. Only a top team can deliver the outstanding performance that is required to make Volkswagen the top global automotive manufacturer. So, more than ever before, we need to promote talent across all areas. Our aim for the coming years is to continue to develop our employees’ existing high skills levels and problem-solving abilities. Vocational education and training and study form the basis for skills development within Volkswagen’s “Berufsfamilien” (professional families).

Building on this basis, our employees continue to learn and develop their skills throughout their working lives. Knowledge transfer – the passing on of knowledge and experience by our own specialists – is a key part of our strategy. Qualification takes place in line with the dual model, which integrates theoretical learning with practical training.

As a global undertaking with 106 manufacturing plants across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, we are committed to respect, tolerance and cosmopolitanism. Volkswagen guarantees equal opportunities and equal treatment regardless of ethnicity, skin color, gender, disability, ideology, faith, nationality, sexual orientation, social background, or political conviction, provided this is based on democratic principles and tolerance towards those who hold different views.


Dual Vocational Training

Volkswagen is exporting the successful German dual vocational training model throughout the world. In December 2013, the number of employees in vocational education and training within the Group totaled 17,703 worldwide, including 12,611 in Germany – a record number. Volkswagen AG alone offers training in a total of 30 professions and on 19 courses to apprentices and students on combined practical and theoretical courses within the Company.

The dual model of vocational education and training has now been adopted at many sites outside Germany, with others developing the system. Over three quarters of all apprentices within the Group are currently being trained in line with this tried-and-tested system, including those in Spain, Hungary, Russia, the USA, Mexico, India and China.

Dual vocational training began at Volkswagen’s Kaluga plant in Russia in 2010, and since 2012, the plant has added the role of warehouse logistics operator to its existing training professions (motor vehicle mechatronic, construction and production mechanic, automotive painter, and general mechatronic technician).

Since 2011, Volkswagen has also been training general mechatronic technicians to German standards at its Indian plant in Pune. The “Volkswagen India Academy” collaborates with the local Industrial Training Institute to provide this training. In May 2013, Volkswagen Group South Africa was commended for its ongoing commitment to initial and continuing qualification in the context of South Africa’s most important empowerment awards.

In 2012, SEAT switched its vocational education and training system in Spain over to the dual model and has, since then, integrated the facility more closely as a training location.

And in summer 2013, Audi began training the first apprenticeship year of young skilled workers for its new San José Chiapa plant in Mexico, which is scheduled to come on stream in 2016.

In Hungary and China, the Company is already making use of the tried-and-tested combination of theoretical learning and practice-based training. A further pilot project is currently under way at the Belgian location in Brussels.

Health and Fitness

Protecting and promoting good health is not just a social responsibility and part of Volkswagen’s corporate culture but also vital to the Company’s ongoing economic health and viability. The Volkswagen Group’s integrated approach to health management goes well beyond traditional preventive health care and occupational safety and also includes a member of aspects such as work organization, ergonomics, leadership style and prospects for each individual.

The common objective is to combine ergonomically state-of-the-art workplaces and innovative work processes using a mix of scientific findings and practical experience. The successful switch to the new Volkswagen Golf model in 2012 provided an opportunity to make ongoing improvements in workplace ergonomics. To reduce the impact on health of shift work, Volkswagen AG plants have introduced new shift patterns. Ergoshift patterns involving short-cycle, forward-rotating shifts facilitate the body’s transition from one shift pattern to the next. Surveys among around 1,200 employees across five Volkswagen AG plants show that these ergo-shift patterns impose less stress on employees’ fitness, health and well-being.

As part of the Company’s Holistic Ergonomics Strategy, the 2013 “Ergonomics Day” at the Volkswagen brand in Wolfsburg (Germany) presented measures for adapting both products and production processes to different age groups. MAN has put all jobs at its production plants through a systematic ergonomic assessment as a way of managing demographic change, boosting employee performance and preventing physical impairment. The Audi Checkup has been running since 2006, while Volkswagen introduced its Checkup in 2010. The Checkup is a free, comprehensive preventive medical examination available to all employees. It helps maintain and improve the health, fitness and performance of the workforce. Nearly 61,000 staff have so far undergone Volkswagen Checkups, while almost 60,000 Audi Checkups have been carried out. Other Group companies have been bringing existing screening and preventive health programs into line with the Group-wide standards represented by the Checkup. In 2013 these included ŠKODA in the Czech Republic, where more than 15,000 ŠKODA Checkups have since been carried out.

To ensure a common standard of health provision across the Group, a multi-level audit system was developed in 2010, comprising self-audit and expert audit. Many sites have already successfully completed a self-audit, and some have conducted an expert audit.


Advancement of Women

The Volkswagen Group is aiming to have 30% women at all levels of the management hierarchy in Germany in the long term. In line with this, the proportion of women in management within the Volkswagen Group in Germany rose from 9.3% in 2012 to 9.8% in 2013. 27.4% of all apprentices across the Group in 2013 were women. Our aim: 30% women at all levels of the management hierarchy. In each discipline we take the proportion of female graduates.

As a starting point, we take the proportion of female graduates in each discipline, so that, for example, around 10% of all the mechanical engineers we recruit should be women. For electrical engineers, the proportion is also 10%, rising to 50% in business areas. Volkswagen is keen to increase the proportion to nearly 30%, however, and is actively seeking to recruit talented women. The tools it is using include special information days on industrial or technical vocational education and training at Volkswagen and hands-on experience days for young women.

For a number of years, the Volkswagen, Audi, MAN and Porsche brands have taken part in a national initiative, “Girls’ Day”, and in 2013, they offered 2,370 female school students in Germany a practical insight into the careers offered by the automotive industry. With the “Women Experience Day” Volkswagen forges links with female students early in their academic careers. Launched in 2012 it is aimed at female students and graduates in engineering subjects.

Since 2004, the Company has been running the “Woman DrivING Award”, a competition aimed at top female engineers. The competition is held across Germany every two years and is designed to encourage young female graduates into employment in technical areas, where they can contribute to designing and producing the cars of tomorrow.

Audi, too, is aiming to recruit talented women, for example through careers guidance events targeting female school students and the “CareerDay Women” initiative for young women studying technical subjects. Since 2001, Porsche has been using the “Femtec.Network” platform as a targeted tool for recruiting highly skilled female engineers. The platform is a collaboration between eleven technology companies, with nine technical universities joining the scheme in January 2014. The aim is to foster women studying engineering and science subjects.


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