Faculty 73: More Applicants than Expected
A strong start for Faculty 73: almost 1,500 women and men applied for the first 100 places at Volkswagen’s new training facility for IT specialists and software developers. Ralph Linde had expected no more than 500 applicants. The Head of the Volkswagen Group Academy says, “Our expectations have been exceeded by far.”
Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian thinks that the great response makes for a brilliant start. He emphasizes, “The applicants recognized the opportunity that Faculty 73 offers: intensive training in IT and software-related areas and secure employment based on this training.” The first cohort will begin their course at the “AutoUni” in Wolfsburg in March. Based on the results from an online test as the first step in the selection process, 250 applicants – more than two thirds of them existing employees – were invited to attend the selection days. Background: the offer is aimed at Volkswagen AG employees as well as individuals seeking work and university dropouts.The training takes two years. It comprises a basic qualification, for instance in math, physics, and programming languages. This is followed by gaining an advanced qualification that focuses above all on automotive software development.
With this new training offered at Faculty 73, Volkswagen is hoping to overcome the shortage of IT specialists in the labor market. One thing is clear: the first cohort of 100 will only be the start. Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian says, “The demand for IT staff both for the brand and the Group as a whole is far greater than the supply. Partly because the launch of Faculty 73 went so well, we are already looking into whether we can take on more people to join the training program in the summer.”
Names & News
ULRICH EICHHORN (57), currently serving as Group Head of Research and Development, will assume the position of Chairman of the Management Board of IAV GmbH in Berlin with effect from January 1. Eichhorn’s current role will be taken over by Frank Welsch, Head of Technical Development for Volkswagen, in a dual role. Eichhorn holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering. After starting his career at Ford, he served as Head of Volkswagen Group Research from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he took over as Head of Technical Development at Bentley before joining the German Association of the Automotive Industry as Managing Director in 2012. He returned to Volkswagen in 2016. Welsch (54) holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering. He started his career in 1994 at Volkswagen Group Research. In 2009, he moved to Shanghai Volkswagen as Head of Development; in 2011, he assumed responsibility for vehicle body, equipment and safety development for the Volkswagen brand. From 2012, he was Head of Technical Development at Škoda. And in 2015, he then became Head of Technical Development for the Volkswagen brand.
OLIVER GRÜNBERG (48), who currently serves as Technical Director and Deputy General Director at Volkswagen Group Rus, is due to take over as Chairman of the Executive Board and Head of Technology at Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava. He will be replacing Ralf Sacht, who will head Toolmaking for the Volkswagen brand in Wolfsburg in future. Grünberg studied physics at Braunschweig University of Technology and obtained his doctorate there as well. He started at Volkswagen as a PhD student in 1995. Among other positions he has held, he served as Head of Production at the Kaluga plant in Russia from 2007 to 2009. He became Managing Director at Škoda in India in 2010 and took over brand planning for Škoda in Mladá Boleslav in 2014.
STEFAN DEPKA (44) is due to take over as Technical Director of Volkswagen Group Rus in February, where he will be responsible for passenger car and engine production at the Kaluga plant and for the production site in Nizhniy Novgorod. He will succeed Oliver Grünberg, who will take over as Сhairman of the Executive Board at Volkswagen Slovakia. Depka is currently Head of Production at the FAW-Volkswagen plant in Foshan, China. He previously held the same position at the Volkswagen plant in Navarra, Spain. He started with Volkswagen in 2003. Depka holds degrees in mechanical engineering and economics.
Employee Receives the Order of Merit
A very special honor for an employee in Wolfsburg – Ines Doberanzke-Milnikel (47) was awarded the Order of Merit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin a few days ago. The social education worker was honored at Bellevue Palace for her volunteer work at the Association for the Promotion of the International Youth Meeting Center Oświęcim/Auschwitz (IYMC) and for her professional and social engagement at Volkswagen.
At Volkswagen, the Magdeburg native coordinates international exchange and encounter programs, as well as memorial work at Auschwitz in Poland with trainees and managers. Over the past 30 years, more than 3,000 vocational school students from Poland and Volkswagen trainees have participated in the program. The recognition bestowed by the Office of the President states, “Her work stands for two things: personal commitment and social responsibility on the part of German companies.”
“I’m very happy,” said Ines Doberanzke- Milnikel after the ceremony. “I accept the award on behalf of all trainees and my colleagues committed to memorial work and international encounters, as well as to respect, tolerance, and openness to the world – in the Volkswagen Group, on the International Auschwitz Committee, and at the International Youth Meeting Center.”
"Litti" Visits Trainees
Pierre Littbarski surprised 70 mechatronics trainees at the Wolfsburg plant. The 1990 soccer world champion’s appearance was a special distinction for the best trainees of all four years of training.
The former head scout for VfL Wolfsburg spoke mainly about his career on the field. His message: success only works when you work as a team. “Litti” drew parallels between soccer and the job at the plant. “I wasn’t the strongest player, or the fastest. But with my strengths, I was able to bring the team forward. Find your place on the team!” he called out to the junior staff. The message was received. “The workshop was totally motivating,” said Anna-Ida Heuer. Instructor Stefan Kutz said, “On the field and in the factory, the same principle applies: I only win as a team. Pierre Littbarski did a great job conveying that.”
Employees Make Wishes Come True
What could be more valuable to give at Christmas than time? Volkswagen employees can now give part of their free time as a gift to charitable organizations from the region to fulfill people’s Christmas wishes, as part of the VW Christmas Tree Wish Campaign. This is how it works: the 35 submitted wishes can be viewed in the Volkswagen portal under “Me at VW -> Getting involved -> Volkswagen voluntary work.”. Anyone who wants to fulfill a wish can report to the “pro Ehrenamt” (voluntary work) employees, who are now organizing this campaign for the twelfth time, either by email at ehrenamt@Volkswagen.de or by telephone at 05361/913096.
The wishes are just as varied as the people and institutions in the region. If you like, you can help on a blood donation day in Gifhorn for example, set up a barefoot path at the DRK Ettenbüttel day nursery, or make Christmas decorations with the children at the Wolfsburg Hospice.
“The Christmas Tree Wish Campaign enables our employees to bring joy to the people in their region. They don’t fulfill the wishes with money, they give something far more valuable – part of their free time. I’m grateful to everyone already for this voluntary work,” said Ralf Thomas, head of the “pro Ehrenamt” organization team.
“By fulfilling these wishes we want to give something back to the clubs, associations, and charitable organizations and facilities who do so much for our society and our public welfare in the Wolfsburg region and surrounding areas,” said “pro Ehrenamt” employee, Markus Brack. “There are many people in our neighborhood who could really do with our help. I offer my thanks to all colleagues who are doing things to help others and fulfilling a wish for a good cause,” said Daniela Cavallo, member of the Works Council.
Since 2012, 150 wishes have already been fulfilled by Volkswagen employees. These wishes can be fulfilled alone or in groups. The wishes come from institutions in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig, Salzgitter and the Gifhorn district.
Interview with Larry D. Thompson
What does the Volkswagen workforce think about culture change and the integrity program?
Larry D. Thompson, the U.S. Monitor, wants to know. From November 27, an online survey of employees will be administered by the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI), global thought leaders in the field of integrity and compliance programs, supported by the Members of the Board of Volkswagen AG and the works council. The survey focuses on the opinions of employees regarding integrity at their workplace. The survey results will help the U.S. Monitor identify key strengths and areas of improvement regarding culture and integrity in the Volkswagen Group.
Only a random, representative sample of employees from Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Volkswagen de Mexico, and Audi de Mexico will be initially invited to participate in the survey. Selected Employees will receive an e-mail from ECI directly. It will inform about the survey, including access data and a link to the survey. Employees without own e-mail-address will receive a letter which includes all necessary information about participating in the survey.
As for the process of the survey, you should know two things:
1. Participation is voluntary and confidential. The employees are invited, but not required to participate.
2. All responses to the survey will be anonymous.
Mr. Thompson why the survey now?
We are now over a year into the Monitorship and it is important that we have a realistic view of how employees feel about the company. Specifically, it is an excellent time now to see how Volkswagen employees feel about the culture of the company given that many changes have occurred in the past few years.
What exactly will happen with the responses by the employees?
We have a third party, ECI, conducting the survey. Responses to the survey will be confidential and all data collected will be secure and in accordance with all applicable data privacy laws. I believe this survey will give employees a voice; a way to directly inform me about their views on integrity and culture. ECI will tabulate and analyze the results of the survey in confidence. The results will be used by me and by my team in an effort to examine the culture at Volkswagen.
Why is the monitor interested in what the employees at Volkswagen think?
I am very interested in what Volkswagen employees think for a number of reasons. First, the employees know the company best. Their thoughts and insights are extremely valuable to me. Additionally, we recognize that meaningful change cannot come to Volkswagen without the full support and acceptance of Volkswagen’s employees. We have a shared goal with the Company to make Volkswagen a better company.
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