An Apprentice with Distinction
6/7/2023 Insights Article

An Apprentice with Distinction

Marc Reuter completed his training as a packaging technologist at Brohl Wellpappe – and was one of Germany's best apprentices last year. His advice to younger people: “You learn the most by working independently.”

Marc Reuter at his workplace at Brohl Wellpappe in the Föhren plant. Marc Reuter at his workplace at Brohl Wellpappe in the Föhren plant.

He “wasn't particularly determined” after graduating from the Stefan-Andres High School in Schweich, recalls Marc Reuter, who grew up by the Mosel River. So, in order to push his future planning a little further, the now 23-year-old decided in the spring of 2019 to visit the FUTURE training fair in Trier. “I actually went there without any particular expectations and looked around at several companies, as I didn't have any particular company in mind. During my tour, I then discovered the Brohl Wellpappe stand, where I found out about their various training opportunities. Packaging technologist sounded very interesting to me, so it didn't take me long to send out my application.”

The acceptance came promptly, and so in the fall of the same year he started what was supposed to be a three-year apprenticeship at the Föhren plant (Trier-Saarburg district), which he shortened to two and a half years. There, he learned about the entire cardboard packaging manufacturing process: from the customer’s request to designing on the computer and the technical drawing, as well as production with paper rolls, gluing and punching in the machine shop, all the way to the finished packaging. What’s most important to Reuter is that he had an exciting apprenticeship: “I didn't want to just sit at the PC, but I also didn't want to just stand on the production floor.” During this time, he particularly enjoyed making technical drawings, because he was allowed to try out a lot of things himself and let his creativity run wild.

Taking personal responsibility

“The nice thing is that you get to know everyday life in the production areas, but also in the office. Before I started the apprenticeship, I would never have thought that there was so much work behind corrugated cardboard packaging.” In retrospect, he also sees it as a clear advantage that he always tried to work independently. “As a result, the normal everyday tasks became routine, and I was able to perform them independently. When you don't always have to ask what to do, you learn the fastest.” As a result the practical final exam was not particularly difficult for him either, as he was able to prepare well for what was required weeks in advance through everyday work. “I have my company, the trainers and my colleagues to thank for the fact that I was given extra time before the exam to learn and prepare myself in the best possible way.” A preparation that, by all accounts, more than paid off, because not only was he able to complete his training with “Very Good.” But with this achievement, he also became the best German apprentice in the profession of packaging technologist last year. Together with 215 other apprentices from other sectors, he was recently invited to Berlin for the National Best Apprentice Award by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). This event was a “nice experience” and he has already had to give a few interviews since then.

Now he wants to gain professional experience and continue to support the Brohl Wellpappe team in Föhren. “After that, a few further training opportunities present themselves. For example, I could complete a technician or industrial master’s degree. However, there are also interesting courses of study such as packaging technology.” For his successors and all those interested in training, he has another important tip: “I can only advise all trainees in any profession to get heavily involved during this time. You learn the most by working independently, and you don't get any stupider by asking questions!”

By the way: Brohl Wellpappe trains in many different fields at the Mayen and Föhren sites, including industrial clerks, packaging technologists, media designers, machine and plant operators, mechatronics technicians and electronics technicians. A total of 30-35 young people are trained at any one time, and they can count on a high hiring rate. Brohl Wellpappe regularly receives awards from the Trier Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Koblenz Chamber of Industry and Commerce for outstanding training performance.