As the final exam approaches, the apprentices are getting increasingly nervous. This is the day they’ll have to show exactly what they have learned over the last three years. They are preparing for the test as conscientiously as they can.
Nine third year apprentices were lucky: their trainer Kurt Oberholzer has a neighbour who wanted to put a driveway in front of his new house. He was only too pleased to agree to Oberholzer’s idea of getting apprentices to carry out the work as a practice project before the final exam.
Over the next three weeks the young road builders were given the opportunity to practice many of the types of work they would be tested on. This included setting up and marking out the site, levelling the subsurface, marking out the borders, setting the edge stones and applying the surfacing.
Kurt Oberholzer left his apprentices largely to work on their own. As well as practising the different steps involved in the work, they learned to take responsibility within a team. There was no foreman on “their” construction site to tell them what to do. The apprentices decided most things for themselves, distributed the jobs and trusted each other enough to give and receive criticism.
Oberholzer gave them daily feedback about how the work was going, about the financial implications and environmental aspects. Thanks to such exercises, the company is sending practically trained young specialists into the world of work, who know how to operate sustainably. The project also contributed to sustainability, because no practice materials had to be disposed of.