Youngsters cracked it

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11.12.2017. After three months spent polishing their projects, the best efforts by the second-year apprentices in the Friedhelm Loh Group earned special prizes. During this year’s summer workshop in Gnadenthal Abbey, the youngsters focused on the principle “You have to crack open a nut to see what’s inside” as the basis for their projects. The presentations impressed the senior management members on the panel of judges and owner and CEO Prof. Friedhelm Loh.

What’s inside the nut? How can I crack it? What does this image have to do with our apprentices, and what does a company stand to gain from employees finding meaning in life? The apprentices in the Friedhelm Loh Group considered questions like these at this year’s summer workshop in Gnadenthal. Their projects were based on the principle “You have to crack open a nut to see what’s inside”. The results from the weekend in the ecumenical community revealed how differently the working groups tackled the subject. After cracking some actual nuts, it quickly became clear to the youngsters and their trainers that this was only a metaphor for the big and small challenges we encounter every day in our working and private lives. At the end of three months of work, they got the chance to present their takes on the topic to a panel of senior managers from the Friedhelm Loh Group.

“Take your courage in both hands, go for it, and use the chance lurking inside every nut!” owner and CEO Prof. Friedhelm Loh said to the youngsters when the time came to showcase their projects. “And don’t just crack your own nuts, but also other people’s. Whether at the workbench or filling out a form – it’s the little things where we can help each other out in the workforce. This is what makes our lives interesting, valuable and worthwhile.”

The winning team, which delivered an impressive presentation on the career path of an imaginary friend called Max, was certainly “intent on cracking it”. Max had two aims in life – to become a manager and start a family. He encountered several nuts that needed cracking and a few setbacks along the way. Problems as a student, unlucky in love, the trials of trying to reconcile work and family life, and the support he received from friends – the interplay of ambition, opportunities and his social surroundings influenced his progress enormously. The main factor was never to lose sight of his aims. The working group also built a model to represent the story in the form of a staircase with a big nut at the top.

“It was a close call between all the presentations,” explained Tina Pfeiffer-Busch, Training Coordinator for the Friedhelm Loh Group. But in the end the panel of eminent judges – Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, CEO of Rittal, Andreas Huck, CFO of the Friedhelm Loh Group, Volker Hindermann, Managing Director of LKH, and Jörg Müller, Senior Vice President for Human Resources – felt “Max” had the edge. The annual workshops in Gnadenthal underline the importance that FLG attaches to nurturing youngsters. They provide a good networking opportunity for the young employees in production and the commercial departments at the different companies and sites of the Friedhelm Loh Group. “Tackling tasks like these and presenting their work to the managers develops our apprentices’ creativity and boosts their self-confidence,” says Müller. “They learn a lot in Gnadenthal and other training provided by the Group’s Loh Academy that serves them well in their professional lives.”

The winners of the Gnadenthal showcase can now look forward to a three-day trip including a visit to Porsche in Leipzig. “Is there room for one more?” joked Prof. Loh in good spirits, as he congratulated each team member on their success. The winning group was made up of Devin Böttge, Marie Hertweck, Lukas Kaiser, Marc Weitzel Rittal and Richard Petrow (all apprentices at Rittal), René Kerber (Loh Services), Ayaanle Mohamed Osman (Stahlo) and Alexander Rau (LKH) with their mentor Ulrich Hof from the training workshop in Wissenbach.

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