For EU leaders racing to and from Berlin yesterday, a pit stop at a Steinecke bakery would have been just as instructive in how to tackle Europe’s youth jobs crisis as chancellor Angela Merkel’s summit. (Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor)
The bright and cheery branch on Steinplatz, run almost exclusively by apprentices, is a good example of why Germany doesn’t have a youth unemployment problem.
Just one-third of German school-leavers each year go to university; the other two-thirds enter the dual trainee programs like Steinecke’s. It has 46 trainees in Berlin participating in its programme, developed in-house, combining practical work experience – bakery, office or sales in one of 246 Berlin branches – with classroom training, social events and factory visits to learn about everything from flour to coffee-roasting. Those who complete the three-year course with good grades, assessed by the company, are guaranteed a job and a cash bonus. The trainee-run branch in Berlin is a time-consuming and costly experiment for Steinecke that goes against today’s European mainstream of state-subsidised internship programmes. But Ms Steinecke is confident that investing in new employees now generates greater loyalty in the future, securing the family firm regardless of economic cycle.
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