Training and professional development

At Volkswagen, our capacity for innovation and our competitive position largely depends on the commitment and knowledge of our employees, particularly during the transformation.

Staff training at Volkswagen is organized according to vocational groups. These comprise all employees whose tasks are based on similar technical skills and who require related expertise in order to perform their jobs. A skills profile lays down the specialist and interdisciplinary skills for each job and serves as a guide for training measures.

Volkswagen Group employees have access to a wide range of training measures – from further training in general Company-related issues to specific training or personal development programs. Thanks to these opportunities, Volkswagen employees are able to further develop and steadily deepen their knowledge throughout their working lives. In this process, they are also able to learn from more experienced colleagues, who pass on their knowledge as experts in the vocational group academies. Training measures are based on the dual training principle, which combines theoretical content with practical experience on the job by means of specific tasks.

The range of learning opportunities is being expanded continuously. Since 2019, the Volkswagen Group Academy has forged partnerships with renowned external training portals to expand online learning, for example on IT topics. The Company has set aside additional funds for the transformation of personnel skills made necessary by digitalization. These resources are used for special training for the groups of employees and departments affected by the transformation. In addition, Volkswagen is striking out in new directions with the Faculty 73 program and is providing in-house training for the software developers who are needed for the digital transformation. The academic year started in 2020 with 100 participants. The program is designed for employees and also external applicants with IT affinity and an interest in software development.

Vocational training and cooperative education

The core component of training at Volkswagen is vocational training or, for young people eligible to enter university, cooperative education (dual study programs combining university studies with on-the-job training). As of the end of 2020, the Volkswagen Group trained 17,939 young people. We have introduced the principle of dual vocational training at many of the Group’s international locations over the past few years and are continuously working on improvements. Once a year, Volkswagen honors its highest-achieving vocational trainees in the Group with the Best Apprentice Award.

Even after their vocational training has been completed, young people at the start of their careers are encouraged to continue their professional development in our Company. At Volkswagen AG, for example, we developed the AGEBI+ program, which promotes fully qualified vocational trainees who are eligible for university and wish to combine a degree program in subjects that are relevant to Volkswagen’s future – such as electrical engineering, chemistry or computer science – with closely related practical experience.

Development of university graduates

Volkswagen offers two structured entry and development programs for university graduates and young professionals. In the StartUp Direct trainee program, graduate trainees gain an overview of the Company over two years while working in their own department and also take part in supplementary training measures. University graduates interested in working internationally can participate in the 18-month StartUp Cross program. The aim here is to get to know the Company in all its diversity and to build up a broad network. During their participation in the program, young professionals become familiarized with several locations in Germany and other countries by working in various departments. Both programs also include several weeks’ experience working in production. In 2020, Volkswagen AG hired a total of 151 graduate trainees as part of these programs, 32.5% of whom were women.

Young people can also take part in graduate trainee programs at the other Group companies as well as at the Group’s international locations, such as ŠKODA in the Czech Republic, SEAT in Spain or Scania in Sweden.