Graduation Day Arrives for 2010 Class of Heidelberg Apprentices

KENNESAW, GA—April 5, 2010—Heidelberg USA is proud to announce the graduation of seven field service technicians from its Apprenticeship Program on March 31.

The graduates are the product of a three-year program that begins with a two-month comprehensive on-boarding at Heidelberg USA’s headquarters in Kennesaw. The Print Media Academy-generated introductory curriculum teaches the “language of printing” and acquaints recruits with the mechanical and electrical aspects of Heidelberg equipment. Upon the successful completion of the introductory segment, graduates return to their home region for the next two years and 10 months to shadow experienced Heidelberg technicians in the field, working first on installations, and then on troubleshooting actual problems. Apprentices return to Kennesaw periodically to supplement their technical education with focused, structured training at the Technology Center.

“Heidelberg USA is proud to have given these seven graduates an opportunity to take their professional development into their own hands, supported by colleagues and trainers who accompany them through the learning process,” said Jim Dunn, President of Heidelberg USA. “In training a new generation of field service technicians, our customers are ensured the continued availability of a pool of highly trained Heidelberg specialists who understand how to install, repair and maintain these complex pieces of machinery.”

“Even in these challenging times, Heidelberg remains committed to investing in our future and in the continued success of our customers by preparing highly skilled field technicians to address the specific service requirements of our customers’ Heidelberg equipment,” said Ulrich Koehler, Senior Vice President Service for Heidelberg USA. “Industry-wide, no other training program can make that claim. Ultimately, the proof of our dedication to providing the very best in service can be measured in customer loyalty.”

Emphasis on “Mechatronics”
In an effort to recruit candidates with the strong mechanical and electrical aptitude necessary to become a successful technician, Apprentice Development Program Manager Paul Cavanaugh cultivates relationships with technical schools nationwide, speaking with students and collecting résumés. According to Cavanaugh, the ideal candidate is a student with a natural affinity for mechanics and electronics, coupled with a manifest urge to tinker.

“I need students who already understand tools and indicators,” Cavanaugh said, who has developed mechanical, electrical and analytical tests to qualify applicants, and administers mid-term and final examinations—with an oral component—to his apprentices to measure their progress. “Students who already have rebuilt a car engine from the ground up, for example, often are ideally suited to this type of work.” As if to underscore the point, Cavanaugh frequently combines his passion for motorcycle drag racing with his recruitment efforts, occasionally bringing his bike along when he visits technical schools while en route to various races across the US.

For all the effort involved in transforming a tech-savvy student into an apprentice and then into a full-line service technician for the world’s leading supplier of integrated print media solutions, Cavanaugh is indebted to Heidelberg’s team of field service technicians, who serve as mentors to the apprentices during their field training. “Without their dedication, expertise, and willingness to share their hard-earned lessons,” he said, “our apprentices would not have been able to grow as technicians.” Of the apprentices themselves, he adds, “I am extremely proud of them. They have been an absolute pleasure to manage, and every one of them has a bright future with Heidelberg.”

The remaining eight junior apprentices in Heidelberg’s Apprenticeship Program will graduate in 2011.

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