TOWER BARRACKS, Germany – U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria recently welcomed seven local national employees into its workforce, none of whom were new; each had started their journey with the garrison two and a half years ago as apprentices.
An apprenticeship in the German system allows interns to obtain on-the-job training while also attending a vocational school. This year, eight apprentices successfully finished their apprenticeship, and seven decided to continue working with USAG Bavaria.
“You represent the future,” said Robert Reed, director of Human Resources, during his speech at the graduation. “Thank you for choosing us, and thank you for being as exceptional as you were. We admire your efforts, your dedication, and we look forward to another 40 years with you.”
“Unlike in the United States where we don’t have this program and we don’t bring in youth and new perspective, this Apprenticeship Program is an exciting difference,” said Michael Daniels, deputy to the garrison commander. “And I think this will make a big difference in our garrison and hopefully across Europe in the future.”
The program was first started in 1998 in Maintenance Activity Vilseck (MAV). Until this day more than 100 apprentices were trained throughout the Grafenwoehr Military Community and the majority, 77%, continued their employment with USAG Bavaria.
“Going through the USAG Bavaria Apprenticeship Program is a great chance for professional development as well as self-development,” said Ann-Kathrin Hartmann, one of this year’s apprenticeship graduates and now an administrative services specialist. “I would highly recommend this program as it has been life-changing for me. After graduating, we have many opportunities to start our careers, gain new knowledge and continue self-development. I am looking forward to the future!”
The Host Nation Apprenticeship Program provides an opportunity to foster young, energetic personnel and most importantly offer an innovative way to supplement and rejuvenate USAG Bavaria’s local national workforce.
Sebastian Fries, workforce management specialist and training supervisor, is proud of his mentee.
“In 2020, Ms. Hartmann joined our team as an apprentice and now she has taken over the reins to get our next generation set up for success,” he said. “Her enthusiasm and dedication to USAG Bavaria has been nothing less than spectacular.
“Watching Ms. Hartmann grow during her apprenticeship into the career path she is in now has been a pleasure to watch,” Fries continued.
The 2.5-year program has training content structured according to and as required by the Host Nation Vocational Training Act. Because the USAG Bavaria work environment is one of a kind, each apprentice is trained, parallel to their field of work, to be a foreign language correspondent.
“I really enjoyed the training because I was able to make good contacts within my work and also make friends internationally,” said Lea Fischer, apprentice graduate from the Department of Public Works. “And also because I was able to continuously improve my English skills with and through my work.”
Fischer will continue to work with USAG Bavaria at DPW. Additionally, she had already joined the works council as an apprentice and is now their youth and training representative.
“I am excited because we have new family members,” said Daniels. “This is the end of my journey, but I am excited because I can share the beginning of their journey and know that we, USAG Bavaria, are in good hands.”
Apprenticeship opportunities at USAG Bavaria are offered every year. For a list of American job opportunities and German job and apprenticeship opportunities go to: https://home.army.mil/bavaria/index.php/employment