When it comes to careers, it’s not a one-size-fits-all path. While many pursue a college degree, others may be better suited to the skilled trades in the automotive industry. That’s where Sabine Resch comes in.
In her role as deputy chairperson for the Works Council, a European position that functions as an advocate for employees, Resch is the link between workers and management. Her duties include working with apprentices at the Magna powertrain divisions in Lannach, Ilz and Albersdorf, Austria.
“Skilled trades apprentices are the future,” Resch said. “We need to invest in them and offer them all the help they need.”
As someone who once dreamed of being a teacher, the Magna veteran with 18 years of shop-floor experience brings an educator’s approach to the apprentice program. They are learning various skills, including information technology, mechanical and electrical engineering, and machining and plastics engineering.
The program is a mixture of on-the-job training and classroom education at the trade school. Resch introduced bi-weekly apprentice meetings, where participants talk about their experiences and concerns. Apprentices also must keep weekly planners or journals, noting what they’ve learned on the job.
“They call me ‘Mama Sabine’ on the Works Council,” Resch said. “But I have two grandsons and I’m more of the grandmotherly type. I’m nurturing and sensitive to people’s feelings. I love working with the apprentices. It’s energizing to spend time with them and to see their excitement.”
Encouraging women to enter the skilled trades is a passion for Resch. That’s why she’s motivated to provide others with this career-boosting chance.
“I want to be the person supporting and mentoring apprentices, especially women,” Resch said. “Besides, Magna is a great place to launch a career.”
As part of the Magna skilled trades apprentice program in Lannach, Ilz and Albersdorf, Austria, Piyathida Strametz is receiving hands-on experience that is preparing her for a career in the automotive industry.
The apprentices are learning various skills, including information technology, mechanical and electrical engineering, and machining and plastics engineering.
We spoke with her about why she chose Magna, her dreams for the future and why she recommends a technical apprenticeship as a great career path:
Q: What made you interested in the skilled trades?
A: I was born in a little village in Thailand, but my family moved to Austria when I was three. The interest goes back to my father, an electrician who worked on crane construction and power plants. When I was little, he would take me along to “help” him at work. We also spent time in his home workshop, doing everything from car repairs to assembling furniture. The biggest lesson I learned from him was taking pride in working with your hands.
Q: What is a typical day like for you at your Magna apprenticeship?
A: I’m working in the maintenance department at the Magna plant in Lannach, where they make powertrain systems, such as electric drives and transfer cases. I alternate between departments on the shop floor. Right now, I’m working at the assembly line. I help to fix technical problems. Before that, I was in the planning department, working on programming robots that are connected to machines.
Q: Why did you choose Magna?
A: I wanted to work for a global company that offers lots of opportunities. The program I’m in is 3-1/2 years long and includes trade-school classes. Next year, I will go to Dublin, Ireland, to do a 3-4-week internship at a manufacturing company. Magna is supporting that as part of the apprentice program. The foreign travel and opportunities are part of the program. When I finish in 2024, I will be a certified mechatronics technician. I like the combination of mechanical and electric.
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