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A special sort of training project

A few questions to start: Who amongst us fits the bill for the norm? What is normal and who should be the judge of that anyway? Are we not all different in some small or large way, each of us a tributary apart from the mainstream? Of course we are. That‘s what makes us unique and interesting. And some particularly interesting people have been apprenticing with us since March 1st, 2018 in a joint project with Berufsbildungswerk (BBW) Südhessen. A few of these young people‘s life circumstances make it harder for them to get a foot in the door to the job market. 

Twelve warehouse specialists and three management assistants are learning a 
trade here with us in Karben as part of this project. This is not our first job-related collaboration with BBW. Past projects involved internships, so we knew we could work together well. It is less than 200 meters from satis&fy to BBW. We know every step of the way because their excellent cafe-
teria serves the tastiest food conjured by their trainee chefs. A while back we were looking for conference rooms, a former apprentice of ours for a basketball team, and BBW were looking for a partner with a proper warehouse for clerks‘ vocational training. BBW has rooms and sports teams; we have a great warehouse. We also outsource some custom builds to our neigh-bor‘s workshops, for example, curtains for the Lufthansa brand launch.

Why are we doing this?  

It‘s a win-win situation. We offer people opportunities that they would otherwise have trouble finding. And we can discover fresh talent which we need more of as we continue to grow.
Our three diligent management assistant trainees work in the office. Most of the other apprentices rotate through our ware-
house‘s Rigging, Sound, Video, Scenic and Inventory departments. It takes two years training to become a warehouse clerk. The apprenticeship covers everything this specialist does and has to be able to do, including handling packing lists, scann-ing goods, loading and unloading at our 
location and possibly at events. We afford young talent the opportunity to later join our company. Not all apprentices at the vocational training center are locals. Some come from far away. They live in BBW dorms and return home every two or three weeks on weekends. This project takes 
trainees out of their comfort zones and into the world. That experience and the work they do here with us builds confidence. For example, the speech of one young person who is said to stutter has been flow-
ing freely here with us. That seems a pretty good sign to us.

BBW briefed us on various conditions before the project kicked off, for example, to help us better understand autism. So, again, what is ‘normal?‘ Andreas Jessen, the man in charge of training warehouse clerks, pondered that question at length. He now takes things in his stride with a def-
inition of normal that is broad and inclusive. The same goes for our head instructor Kai Bilges. Two BBW trainers are regularly on site alongside our people. As Canned Heat so eloquently put it all those years ago, “Let‘s work together, come on, come on!“ Work-
ing together works. 

Photograhpy: Peter Howe (Manx Design)

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