Markus Rauberger has overcome 20,000 rivals to come out on top in his profession. The 23 year old is happy to have graduated from the dual training system.
Markus Rauberger from Aystetten is unrivalled nationwide: the apprentice, who is 23 and trained at the Augsburg company Kuka Systems, passed his final exam to become an industrial mechanic with the best marks in all of Germany. "I was really into the subject. But that it's gone so far, that was a bit surprising", says Rauberger with a grin. He has every reason to smile; almost a third of a million apprentices from all over Germany were lined up in competition.
In his particular profession, Rauberger stood out from 20,000 rivals, putting him not only in first place in the region covered by Schwaben Chamber of Industry and Commerce, but also in Bavaria and even the entire country. He received an award in recognition of his achievements in the nation's capital Berlin.
Rauberger himself says the path his career took to eventually become the very best in the country was "classic". Four months before graduating with the Abitur higher education entrance qualification (similar to A-levels) from the Justus-von-Liebig-Gymnasium school in Neusäß, he visited a careers fair at the local town hall. He just wanted to find out some information about various craft trades, because "in the sixth form, hardly any students know what they want to do for a career".
Even before he decided to go down the dual training path, he was sure of two things: "I didn't want to spend time doing a degree straight from school; I wanted to get involved in a craft trade. And I was late to the party, as you normally have to apply a year in advance." But nevertheless, it all worked out.
So, for the next four and a half years, the Aystetten resident studied at Augsburg University of Applied Sciences during the semesters, then switched to practical in-house training during the holidays. Rauberger himself is not quite sure why he was so taken with industrial mechanics; he had almost no previous experience with machines. "I was even nervous about handling the jig saw."
Looking back, however, he is more than happy with his decision to take up this particular profession and is completely satisfied with his training. "It has not only taught me subject-related skills, most of all it has helped me grow as a person", he says. "It might sound a bit radical, but training would do everybody good!" The only criticism he has of this type of training is that the path is rigid: "You can't just leave, as you'd lose two potential qualifications in one fell swoop."
What's next for him, after submitting his Bachelor's degree thesis in April and gaining his second qualification, is still up in the air. "Maybe I'll take a different route then. But my training has definitely allowed me to build an excellent foundation", says the 23 year old.
Oliver Heckemann, Director of Vocational Education and Training at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, is convinced that the young man will never have to worry about being out of work: "Graduating from training with such good marks is the best starting point for achieving success in your later career." Of the 327 skilled occupations recognised by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, industrial mechanic is one of the most demanding.
"That's why we nickname it the A-level profession. It's a real skill to pass with marks as high as Markus Rauberger's", says Heckemann, underlining his achievement. Not only do you have to do well in the written or theoretical part, you have to impress in the technical oral exam too. "It's no mean feat to be good at all the different aspects; you can't just wing it", says Heckemann.
According to the Director, the fact that seven of the nation's 213 best apprentices came from Schwaben and, including Rauberger, three from the Augsburg region alone, is "a decent result". The good performance is due largely to the attitudes of the individual apprentices – but also to the outlook of the companies that provide the training. "And the region is most definitely in a good position on that score", sums up a satisfied Heckemann.