As a technology company, HENSOLDT is particularly dependent on the expertise and creativity of its employees. With cutting-edge technology, work for a safer world, an international orientation, and a strong corporate culture, the company has a winning image as an employer. Attractive training opportunities also secure the next generation in times of a widespread shortage of skilled workers.
HENSOLDT is a sought-after company for top talent: In the “Most Wanted Employer 2022” ranking by the ZEIT publishing group and the employer rating portal Kununu, the company ranked second among all German companies in the electronics sector. Its corporate culture in particular is rated by employees on the Kununu platform as a strong attractiveness factor. Nevertheless, with its need for demanding qualification profiles, HENSOLDT is also feeling the increasing shortage of skilled workers across all industries. In Germany alone, there was a shortage of more than half a million qualified workers across all professions in 2022, despite the global recession, according to the Institute of the German Economy. The situation is similar in other European countries. Even from a global perspective, the shortage of skilled workers is present almost everywhere – and the trend is rising.
HENSOLDT is therefore increasingly committed to its own training of qualified junior staff in high-tech professions. Since the company was founded in 2017, the number of apprenticeships has doubled. In 2022, a total of 234 apprentices and students of dual study courses completed their training at HENSOLDT in Germany – 20 percent more than in the previous year.
They could choose from 18 training and study courses in 18 professions. In the dual study courses, HENSOLDT focuses on the future-oriented areas of system engineering, embedded systems, data science, and business engineering, and added six additional courses in the area of technology development to its qualification programme in 2022 alone. In terms of apprenticeships, the focus is on the qualifications of electronics technicians for devices and systems and industrial mechanics, followed by mechatronics technicians, industrial mechanics, and surface coaters.
HENSOLDT has bundled all training activities in its Corporate College. In Germany alone, a team of over 100 engineers, so-called training officers, looks after the talents of tomorrow. The Corporate College model also serves as a model for the numerous international HENSOLDT sites.
Lars Immisch, CHRO
“For a safer tomorrow, high technology – in other words, electronics, software, and artificial intelligence – is becoming increasingly crucial. Training specialists for these and other demanding areas, promoting young talent, and thus ensuring the success of HENSOLDT is something that is very close to our hearts – across all locations and countries,” says Lars Immisch, Chief Human Resources Officer at HENSOLDT AG. “With our internationalization strategy, we are therefore also increasingly focusing on interlinking our various training and qualification initiatives worldwide. We want to link theory and practice even more closely and make our successful apprenticeship model accessible to more young technology enthusiasts worldwide.”
In Germany in particular, the dual study programme – a university course of study with firmly integrated practical stints in the company – plays a special role. In close cooperation with the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University, Germany’s largest dual education institution with over 30,000 students, course content is continuously adapted and further developed to meet current practical requirements. With a view to the skills required for HENSOLDT, the professors at the university integrated the subject of Artificial Intelligence in Electrical Engineering into the curricula, for example. Together with other companies, HENSOLDT also developed the new Embedded Systems degree programme and provided practical technological impulses for the Electrical Engineering and Information Technology degree programmes.
Werner Stockburger, Head of the Corporate College
“Thanks to our growth course, we at HENSOLDT have an enormous need for qualified junior staff, some with very specific skills. That’s why we network closely with important educational institutions,” explains Werner Stockburger, Head of the Corporate College. “At the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University, for example, we were able to integrate topics such as radar technology into our studies. That is something you rarely find at other colleges or universities. Tailor-made degree programmes such as Embedded Systems and the continuous expansion of content on offer form an important building block for us in attracting the next generation of talent with exactly the right profiles.”
During their practical time at HENSOLDT, the students can expect a special extra: They can complete an internship semester at one of the currently more than 40 HENSOLDT locations worldwide. Destinations such as Singapore, Taiwan, South Africa, and Australia, but also England and France, characterize the attractiveness of HENSOLDT as an employer with international development opportunities even beyond the training period. Likewise, young talents from international locations come to Germany for internships lasting several months.
“No matter whether in Oberkochen or South Africa: At every HENSOLDT location worldwide, the technological pioneering spirit plays a paramount role in our teams,” says Werner Stockburger. “With us, young people experience that they can drive innovation and look very far into the future technologically. Compared to other engineering sectors such as the automotive or aerospace industries, we also offer many technological specialties that are hard to find elsewhere.”
Targeted collaboration with educational partners from the school sector also helps to find the necessary young talent early on, even in classic apprenticeship professions. “Particularly in the area of training, we are also concerned to play our role as a company in society in a responsible manner,” says Werner Stockburger. “Our educational partnerships make an important contribution here and help to get young people excited about technology and an apprenticeship while they are still at school.”
Career starters in traditional apprenticeships can also expect special opportunities at HENSOLDT: The training alliance that HENSOLDT forms with partner companies allows them to get to know several companies intensively during their training and thus also to better reflect individual preferences for their further professional development. In addition, young talents at HENSOLDT can also qualify for sojourns abroad as trainees through language courses.
Russia’s war against Ukraine and the new security situation in Europe also have an influence on the perception of HENSOLDT as an employer. Controversial debates in society and the media with regard to the role of the defence industry have always been deliberately addressed openly by the company in job interviews. Today, the change in social consciousness as a result of the war is also reflected in exchanges with job applicants: “They are very different conversations than we had a few years ago. We are perceived as an industry that is socially relevant and makes an important contribution,” Werner Stockburger tells us. “The topic of safety has become much more of a focus, even among the generation of young professionals. Where in the past we sometimes experienced doubts or fear of contact with the defence industry, today the motivation to use one’s profession to work for a fundamentally important good clearly dominates.”
In addition, the topic of safety also has a very personal aspect for junior staff at HENSOLDT. All apprentices and graduates of dual study programmes are taken on by HENSOLDT after successful completion and can look forward to a secure job in a comparatively crisis-resistant industry.
HENSOLDT’s Educational and Network Partners With its educational partnerships, HENSOLDT covers a broad spectrum so that it can provide information about the training and study opportunities as well as the career opportunities in the company at all types of schools: from community and middle schools to secondary schools. This close dialog was also recognized by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, which awarded HENSOLDT an award from the Institute of the German Economy for the exemplary cooperation between industrial companies and schools.
In addition, HENSOLDT also cooperates with other companies to cover training content even more comprehensively – for example, with the competitor Thales, offering joint training courses for electronics technicians and industrial mechanics.
Awards for the HENSOLDT Corporate College The HENSOLDT Corporate College is home to all of the company’s training activities. It focuses the training content on the overall orientation of the company and continuously develops the high training standards. HENSOLDT has already received several awards for this, including “Germany’s Best Trainer” and “Top Trainer for IT Jobs” in 2022 as well as the “SCHULEWIRTSCHAFT Award” in 2021 for exemplary commitment to vocational orientation and the transition from school to the working world.
Argus Award As part of its close cooperation with research institutions and universities, HENSOLDT has been awarding the “Argus” research award, which comes with prize money, for 19 years. The prize is awarded for outstanding theses by university graduates in high-frequency and communications engineering, digital signal processing, optronics, and cyber technology. The competition intensifies contact with the institutes, deepens the mutual transfer of knowledge, enables HENSOLDT to gain insights into current developments in science, and offers the award winners and other high potentials additional prospects for a job in the high-technology sector – perhaps even at HENSOLDT.
Daniel Wagner from Ulm discovered the apprenticeship opportunities at HENSOLDT on advertising posters at the bus stop. After graduating from a business high school, he began his three-and-a-half-year training as an electronics technician at HENSOLDT in 2020.
After initially learning the necessary basics in the training workshop, he passed through various HENSOLDT departments in the second year of his apprenticeship, alternating every two months: from surface coating to tester and prototype construction and assembly of printed circuit boards. This was followed by the Integration department, where the final device is manufactured, tested, and then shipped.
“I knew that after graduating from high school, I didn’t want to study directly, but rather do something practical and technical. In the interview, I got a very good impression of the company and the application process was very professional,” says Daniel Wagner. “During the apprenticeship, I was particularly impressed by the fact that we were able to practice both the theoretical and practical parts together in the training workshop for six weeks before the intermediate examination. That’s not something you can take for granted – that you can specifically study for your intermediate exam during your working hours.”
Daniel Wagner will complete his training as an electronics technician for devices and systems in 2023. He has already decided that he will afterwards start a dual study programme in industrial engineering with a focus on electrical engineering at HENSOLDT. His current training has already been adjusted accordingly. He is particularly convinced by the fact that “we develop systems with which potential hazards can be detected early and precisely. I am totally motivated by the fact that I can see what I am doing something for. At the end of the day, you can see exactly what you’ve assembled and achieved – and what impact that has on safety.”
Lena Berkel comes from Lower Saxony and became aware of the dual study programme at HENSOLDT while surfing the Internet. In particular, the practical relevance and the possibility of spending a semester abroad immediately appealed to her – apart from her general interest in technology. In 2019, she began her training.
During her studies, she went through various modules from the fields of electrical engineering and economics (business administration, economics, project management). Parallel to this, practical training took place at HENSOLDT in various departments – most recently in Naval and Ground Radar Units – with a focus on improvement projects in production. She spent her semester abroad at a partner university of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Taiwan, where she continued her studies.
“The great value that HENSOLDT places on training has always inspired me throughout this time,” Lena Berkel says today, looking back and summing up her experience. “You get amazing support from your own training department and there are separate training managers for each department who are always available to talk to you. Overall, a really great system in which I was intensively accompanied through my studies.”
In the fall of 2022, Lena Berkel completed her dual study programme in Industrial Engineering with a focus on Electrical Engineering at HENSOLDT. Today, she works in the Naval and Ground Radar Units department and says: “I have the feeling that through the war against Ukraine, many are only realizing how important the defence industry is in the first place. In the company, too, people now feel even more intensely that we are doing something very relevant. You can see in meetings, for example, that we are very aware that the point in time when we are able to deliver a radar can be a matter of life and death. That has tremendous meaning for me as well.”