From practising Japanese in Salzburg to working in Tokyo
Starting in autumn 2023, SKIDATA will offer apprenticeships in software engineering. Robert, responsible for training software engineers, tells us how it all began and what the programme entails.
Robert is a certified apprentice trainer and Senior Project Lead at SKIDATA. Originally from Salzburg, he began his career with an apprenticeship in business. Later, he successfully completed the “MultiMediaArt” degree at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg. He now coordinates apprentice training and leads projects in software and hardware integration at SKIDATA.
Robert, why did SKIDATA decide to offer training in software engineering alongside electronics and mechatronics?
SKIDATA has a successful history of providing apprenticeships, especially in the field of hardware. Today, the scope of our services is no longer limited to physical products. We see ourselves as a provider of solutions, and the focus has increasingly shifted to software. This change reflects the trend towards digitalisation, which we actively support through our training programme. By offering training for software engineers we keep our finger on the pulse of the times – which also means getting the younger generation involved.
When does the apprenticeship programme start?
We made targeted investments to prepare the organizational groundwork. Our software house, which used to be located in Grödig, was relocated to Wals. It was important here to meet all the legal requirements. In the meantime, we have successfully completed our official certification, which is a great step. We plan to start the apprenticeship programme in autumn. The advertisements for positions have already been published and we are currently holding initial interviews, as well as trial days for potential applicants.
How many apprentices are you taking on?
We have set ourselves the target of taking on two apprentices per year.
What kind of applicants are you looking for?
We’re always looking for curious, tech-savvy and motivated young people. It’s an advantage if applicants already have knowledge of a programming language they can build on, but that’s a bonus and not a necessity. Age does not play a decisive role, as we are open both to those who recently left school and to those looking for a career change. Typically, nine years of school are required. Most of our recent applicants were around 18 years old and came not only from Salzburg but also from Upper Austria, Tyrol and Vienna.
How long does the apprenticeship last?
Traditionally, an apprenticeship lasts four years. Depending on your secondary school qualification and existing education, the apprenticeship can be shortened to three or even two years. In this case, we adapt the programme accordingly.
What is the structure of the apprenticeship?
During the introductory phase, our apprentices familiarize themselves with the solutions and systems we use. In the area of software, we analyse our chosen programming languages, the history of our products, and best practices. We adapt our training to the educational level of the candidates, either by providing basic knowledge or by deepening their existing knowledge.
In the first year, we lay the foundations with the basics. From the second year on, we integrate our apprentices into fixed teams and enable them to increase their learning outcomes through specific tasks taken from our day-to-day operations. In this way, they immediately see the value of their contributions and put their knowledge into practice – within the framework of legal requirements.
Are there additional support services for apprentices?
Besides technical training, we offer an additional programme that has a strong focus on soft skills to promote not only technical but also social skills. There is a monthly meeting for apprentices as well as additional training programmes related to topical issues. Last month, for example, we had a workshop on cyberattacks and how to deal with bullying on the internet. There are also events outside the company, so-called apprentice days with intense workshops and opportunities for discussion.
What do you particularly like about SKIDATA?
Diversity, in every sense of the word – whether in terms of the exciting areas of responsibility, the inspiring working environment or the collaboration with talented colleagues.