"We are successfully working together on a number of levels," says Christine Gräbener, the school's programme representative. For IST, this cooperation is a further step in its efforts to accept social responsibility for the young people in the region.
Setting out on a career path is anything but easy for students who, after their final exams, leave the familiar school routine and look to find their way in the working world. From selecting the right career to the right way of applying to finding a suitable training placement: there are many far-reaching decisions to be made. And it is these hurdles that the "Berufsorientierung Realschule" (Career Guidance for Secondary Schools), or BORS for short, is aiming to make more manageable and accessible. For Christine Gräbener, organiser and coordinator of the project at the Neckar school, the collaboration with companies is a particularly important component for providing students with practical experience. IST has been a recognised educational partner of the Neckar secondary school for over a year now. The partnership, made official in March 2010 when signatures were provided by Dirk Jägers and school head Rüdiger Illig, was arranged via the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of the Stuttgart Region (IHK Region Stuttgart). In addition to the IST METZ FOUNDATION which looks after people with mental illness at the workshop on the Neckar in Wendlingen, IST is also taking responsibility for young people from the region with this educational partnership. Thus making the company one of around 40 businesses in the district of Esslingen who have committed themselves to an intensive collaboration with a school in the matter of career guidance. And this partnership has been enthusiastically embraced. According to Christine Gräbener, there has been regular contact with IST personnel officer Melanie Fiess for the coordination of activities or the organisation of BORS events.
The BORS project involves plenty of work: Not only is there the initial career guidance in the career information centre at the "Agentur für Arbeit" (employment agency) but also a lot of preparation for a company placement that the students themselves must organise.
The students select their preferred careers after carrying out their own research and receive guidance in class, such as how an application should be made for a placement and what it should contain. A Career Info Market provides the young people with information about companies and what they have to offer, which included IST for the first time in 2010. During a Career Info Evening, Melanie Fiess also explained to the parents of the students what is important for an application and an interview.
One student who had clearly done her homework was Angelique Hoge, who completed a one-week placement in March: "I was already interested in a career in industrial management having seen what the job involves from my godmother," explains the 15-year old. And Angelique was pretty impressed with what she saw during her time at IST. "Spending a day in each of the different departments, I found there was a great working atmosphere. Despite being an apprentice, I was taken seriously and made to feel part of the team," she explained.
Personnel officer Melanie Fiess was just as enthusiastic about the performance and ability Angelique showed: "We think it is important for the apprentices to take part hands-on. Angelique integrated into the teams really well and I would be delighted to see her get one of the two apprenticeships that we offer each year in industrial management." This apprenticeship is, of course, also a welcome opportunity for the company to get to know future suitable candidates that little bit better. "This has really worked out well right from the start," she concludes. It is more than likely that IST will receive further applications from the Neckar school for apprenticeships in industrial management and also for the more technical positions: In May, 120 students visited the company over two days and there were plenty who returned very impressed with what they had seen, reported Christine Gräbener. Furthermore, there were also a number of girls who attended "Girls' Day" at IST and were positively impressed with the opportunities the company has to offer, added Melanie Fiess. Which just goes to show that both sides benefit from this educational partnership - the students and the company. organisers of this unique congress.