Training and professional development

At Volkswagen, our capacity for innovation and competitiveness depends to a large extent on the commitment and knowledge of our staff. Training at Volkswagen is organized systematically and according to the so-called vocational groups. These comprise all employees whose tasks are based on similar technical skills and who require related expertise in order to perform their jobs. A skills profile lays down the functional and interdisciplinary skills for each job and serves as a guide for training measures.

Volkswagen Group employees have access to a wide range of training measures – from further training in general Company-related issues to specific training or personal development programs. Thanks to these opportunities, Volkswagen employees are able to further develop and steadily deepen their knowledge throughout their working lives. In this process, they are also able to learn from more experienced colleagues, who pass on their knowledge as experts in the vocational group academies. Training measures are based on the dual training principle, which combines theoretical content with practical experience on the job by means of specific tasks.

New technologies can usefully complement learning and the transfer of expertise. The Volkswagen Group Academy, the central training organization in the Group, incorporates this idea into different projects. One example is the Education Lab, where the Volkswagen Group Academy conducts educational research, analyzes training trends and tests technologies at Volkswagen together with start-ups, thereby generating new ways to develop skills at the Company.

One branch of the Volkswagen Group Academy is the AutoUni. It provides the Group with knowledge that is relevant for the future by engaging in-house senior experts and universities. Its events are offered as programs and as cooperative study modules in what is known as a blended learning format, which combines classroom training with online content, supplemented by lectures and conferences.

Volkswagen is striking out in new directions with the Faculty 73 program it kicked off in October 2018. From 2019 onwards it will train 100 software developers per academic year who are needed for the digital transformation in the Company. The AutoUni program is designed for employees with basic IT skills as well as in-house and external candidates with other suitable basic qualifications.

Vocational training and cooperative education

The core component of training at Volkswagen is vocational training or for young people eligible to enter university, cooperative education (dual study programs combining university studies with on-the-job training). As of the end of 2018, the Volkswagen Group had trained 19,244 young people in approximately 50 trades. We have introduced the principle of dual vocational training at many of the Group’s international locations over the past few years and are continuously working on improvements. The Group’s vocational trainees predominantly learn their trade through dual vocational training. Once a year, Volkswagen honors its highest-achieving vocational trainees in the Group with the Best Apprentice Award.

Even after their vocational training has been completed, young people at the start of their careers are encouraged to continue their professional development in our Company. This is why we promote particularly talented young specialists in talent groups. These two-year development and training programs accept the highest-achieving 10% of fully qualified vocational trainees at Volkswagen AG each year. In addition, fully qualified vocational trainees have the option to work at a Group company outside Germany for twelve months as part of the “Wanderjahre” (Year Abroad) program. In the reporting period, 27 Volkswagen Group locations in 17 countries took part in this program.

Last but not least, we developed the AGEBI+ program. It promotes fully qualified vocational trainees who are eligible for university and wish to combine a degree program in subjects that are crucial for Volkswagen’s future with closley related practical experience.

Development of university graduates

Volkswagen offers two structured entry and development programs for university graduates and young professionals. In the StartUp Direct trainee program, graduate trainees gain an overview of the Company over two years while working in their own department and take part in supplementary training measures. University graduates interested in working internationally can participate in the 18-month StartUp Cross program. The aim here is to get to know the Company in all its diversity and to build up a broad network. During their participation in the program, young professionals become familiarized with several locations in Germany and other countries by working in various departments. Both programs also include several weeks’ experience working in production. In 2018, Volkswagen AG hired a total of 164 graduate trainees as part of these programs, 28.7% of whom were women.

Young people can also take part in graduate trainee programs at the other Group companies as well as at the Group’s international locations, such as ŠKODA in the Czech Republic, SEAT in Spain or Scania in Sweden.