Ara facilitates German apprenticeship exchange to New Zealand

News News & events

10 Feb 2020

Apprenticeships are all about getting out in the industry and learning the tools of the trade first-hand.

This is a exactly what a group of German automotive and mechanical engineering apprentices from OSZ Tetlow Fläming (vocational school) are doing while they’re not just out in the industry, but also out of their country - having just arrived in New Zealand for a four-week exchange.


The German apprentices pictured with Ara Trades staff- left to right:
Moritz Meschede, Max Prieff, Robin Muggelberg, Hans Hoffmeister, Sebastian Rosen, Sven Scherfenberg, Benjamin Conrad, Peter Sauer (Manager- Automotive and Auto Body), Maurice Wrona, Evan Puentener (Manager - Manufacturing, Welding, Fabrication and Prison) and  Dennis Taylor (Head of Department- Trades).

This exchange has been organised by the German government-backed scheme ‘Vocational Training Worldwide’ and facilitated by Ara Institute of Canterbury. It’s the first exchange to take place outside of Europe under the German vocational training scheme.

The eight young men were welcomed to Ara last week with a mihi whakatau and a tour of the Woolston Trades campus. Ara has set the students up with homestays and apprenticeship jobs for their stay.

Dennis Taylor, Head of Department – Trades, says Ara was approached over a year ago by Ingobert Voigt, a tutor from OSZ Tetlow Fläming who teaches English to engineering and automotive apprentices.

“We’ve facilitated the exchange in partnership with local businesses, some of which are our connections through our managed apprenticeship programme,” he says.

“We see it as a real advantage for local industry. They’ll get the experience of having an international person working within their business who is nearing the final stage of their apprenticeship and it’s a good opportunity to see how we shape up against the training in Europe.”

Taylor is optimistic about the prospects of the relationship between the two training institutes.

“The long-term potential exists for us to send New Zealand apprentices to Germany, and they would be hosted in the same way. There is also potential for these German students to return on a working visa to work in the industry here.

In four weeks, the apprentices will return home to Germany to continue working on their apprenticeships with car manufacturing companies Mercedes-Benz Ludwigsfelde GmbH and SMB Wildau GmbH.