They passed the exam:

The times when the trainees Christine Schmidt and Marcus Barenscheer were working up a sweat while trying to cope with difficult tasks in Hartmut Stöven’s workshop are over now. They were successful: since last Wednesday they are the first two mechatronics technicians who were trained for this vocational career at DESY.

Christine Schmidt

Contented, Christine Schmidt is sitting in front of the drilling machine: her skill to control this machine was tested in the exam.

This is also a new and trend-setting path in DESY’s vocational training program. Christine and Marcus received their mechatronics technician diplomas in the buildings of the Hamburg electricity company HEW. Trainer Stöven remarked with pride: “The mechatronics technician examination is very complex and it is not easy to achieve a good performance in it. Nevertheless, our trainees did a good job”.

What sounds like a conglomerate word mix is in fact a further development of the well known professions: electronic technician and mechanic. There is a multidisciplinary connection between several fields, but mechanics and electronics play the most important role. Mechatronics technicians work in assembly areas, control production lines, robots and automatic machines – whenever machines integrate automatic processes. In a car assembly line for example: each robot has to grip an assembly part at the right moment, transport it and insert it in an accurate position. The mechatronics technician’s task is the programming, control and repair of the logic control of the robot’s movements.
This profession also requires specific computer knowledge. In the examination the ability to control a drilling machine is tested and thus both trainees were also obliged to master the computer language PLC (programmable logic controller). A large English vocabulary is compulsory too and necessary to change program flows, for example.

Each year DESY offers two new apprenticeship places for mechatronics technicians. Closing date for applications is the end of September. Instructor Hartmut Stöven does not only take care that new trainees present good grades in natural sciences like mathematics, chemistry and physics, they must also be good in soft skills: “The new trainee has to fit in the team” he says. This is important because mechatronics technicians often have to collaborate with other departments. The training period lasts 3,5 years and ends with the qualification exam for technicians at the chamber of industry and commerce.

When asked to talk about her plans for the future, Christine answers: “I would like to continue my vocational education and study, preferably medical technology”. The 21-year-old girl is the only female trainee all over Hamburg who qualified herself for this profession. 22-year-old Marcus did not yet decide what to do. He is thinking either about the possibility to gather experience in another firm or start studying mechanical engineering.