Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has increased its latest training class by 55% this year to remain an industry powerhouse in the face of impending workforce demands. The company has added 246 new traditional and dual-study trainees this year, 186 of which are training directly at LHT.
According to Gerit Westphal, LHT’s head of vocational training, young talent programs and personnel diagnostics, growth and demography are strong drivers for the company. “We expect the worldwide MRO market to experience significant growth within the next 10 years. In order to secure our position as the driving force in our industry, we need to invest in recruitment as well as training,” she says.
Westphal adds that LHT sees a few hundred employees reaching retirement age each year. “These colleagues have to be replaced very early on, as it takes many years to bring a young trainee up to the level of our older colleagues in terms of qualifications, permissions and experience,” she says.
This year’s group of trainees were given the choice of 16 different professions and dual-study programs across LHT’s various businesses and locations. Nearly 130 are training to become aircraft mechanics with specialties in areas such as repair technology, manufacturing technology and engine technology. Westphal says LHT is seeing a rise in demand for aircraft electronics specialists and tool mechanics due to growth in component services. Within this year’s group of trainees, 48 have elected to train as avionics technicians or electronics technicians and 18 are training to become tool mechanics.
According to Westphal, LHT is still able to fill 100% of its open roles, but doing so is getting more difficult. “Low birthrates in Germany and competition from other big players in the technical field are challenging,” she says. “We are making efforts to stay one of the most attractive employers, though, as war for talent is tough.”
As an incentive for recruitment, LHT has invested in digitalization, increased its allowance for housing and is providing trainees with the possibility to travel abroad during international assignments at its worldwide bases. To get the word out about workforce opportunities, the company has also been running social media and ad campaigns in Germany, broadening its presence at trade fairs and intensifying its partnerships with schools.
One demographic LHT is targeting is young women. Just over 12% of the new trainees this year are women and the company says it will continue its efforts to attract women to technical careers. According to Westphal, these efforts include participating in Germany’s annual Girls’ Day.
“On that day, we invite around 140 female pupils, aged between 12-16, so they can figure out and get excited about possible apprenticeships in aeronautical engineering fields,” she says. “Our apprentices provide them with a first-hand look at the day-to-day working life during the training. Plus, we have special incentives like MINT PINK, where female pupils with an interest in a career in technology spend one week at our base.”
LHT has 616 young people training at the company for jobs within technical aircraft services, industrial engineering or aircraft logistics. It plans to add 50 more training slots in 2020 and has already begun the application process.