January 28th was a big day for twelve prospective apprentices of Mitsubishi HiTec Paper Europe GmbH. Together with their parents, they had been invited to sign their contracts and have a tour around the special paper manufacturer's main plant in Bielefeld-Hillegossen. Following a welcome address by Andreas Born, Head of Training, and Andreas Jastrzembowski, Personnel Director, Uwe Gößing, representative of the Bielefeld Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and Dirk Hansmeier, Chairman of the Works Council, then addressed those in attendance.
They all made reference to the importance of a qualified apprenticeship. It is imperative to "secure" the young generation at an early stage to be geared up for the future (the keyword here being "demographic change"). Competitive paper production is only possible with well-trained, skilled workers. The company's training capacity has been increased to take these circumstances into account. Up to now, between five and six apprentices have been appointed each training year, but in the future this will increase to between ten and twelve each year.
In the future training will be provided in five different trades. From August 2011, apprenticeships will be offered as Machine and Equipment Operators alongside Paper Engineers, Industrial Sales Management Assistants, Industrial Mechanics and Energy Electricians.
Training and paper manufacturing has a long history at Mitsubishi HiTec Paper Europe. The Bielefeld plant was set up as far back as 1799. For many years, and working in close collaboration with its Flensburg sister plant, the company has been manufacturing high-quality special paper for the global market using the most modern paper and coating machines on a floor area of some 50 hectares. These include thermal papers, for instance for receipts, travel tickets, betting and lottery tickets, carbonless papers for bills and continuous forms among others and inkjet papers for photographic books, proofing or posters. With a workforce of 446, around 150,000 tons of special paper is manufactured every year at the main plant at Bielefeld.