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Shortage of skilled workers: better support for young talents!

A contribution from Stefan Wermter, Managing Director ROWE

The shortage of skilled workers is one of the biggest current economic threats for SMEs. If you can't find enough employees, you can't grow - and in the worst case, you even have to restrict existing business areas. As the new Managing Director at ROWE, I have made the promotion of young talents one of my most important tasks. In this article, I will outline my plan.

Promotion has made my career possible

Why is the promotion of young talents so important to me? Because I was intensively supported myself during my own career.

I have been working at ROWE for over 20 years and have literally worked my way up here. I have had a mentor at my side over the years: the company founder Michael Zehe. He has accompanied me on this path and has always given me targeted support.

I have seen how much such support for young talents can achieve. And now that I am at the head of the company myself, I would like to make my own contribution.

Medium-sized companies can train skilled workers themselves!

In addition to my personal history, however, I am aware of one thing above all: promoting young talents can be one of the most powerful tools for a medium-sized industrial company like ROWE to attract skilled workers.

I'm someone who always tackles challenges head on - I'm not one for lamenting. So instead of blaming politics and society for the shortage of skilled workers, it is important to me to make the greatest possible contribution to training skilled workers myself with ROWE. 

My ideas for better promotion of young talent at ROWE

As Managing Director, I want to approach this important topic together with our expert teams and develop a concrete plan. I would like to give you an insight into some of my ideas here.  


Strengthen apprenticeships

One thing is clear: offering more and more varied apprenticeships is a key aspect of any strategy to promote young talent. ROWE already trains young people in different professions every year, many of whom we are able offer a permanent position. Nevertheless, I would like to expand this further - especially with regard to the type of apprenticeships. This is a long-term goal that we will achieve step by step.


Clear career plans create transparency

Career and development opportunities are an increasingly important factor in the attractiveness of a company for employees today. Many only stay with a company if they see a real future there. Unfortunately, this future is often anything but transparent these days. Employees often do not know exactly how they need to develop in order to have opportunities for advancement. Even at ROWE, this is not as clear as I would like it to be.

I would like to change that. My aim is to show clear development paths at ROWE - transparent and open, even for outsiders. These should not only define career opportunities, but also clarify the requirements and necessary intermediate steps in development. In doing so, I want to maintain a balance between clear objectives on the one hand and sufficient scope for flexible and individual paths on the other. This gives existing and potential employees a perspective that they can work on to strategically advance their career.


Individual proposals for further training

I would like to link the transparent career plans with an even better range of further training opportunities. Based on the development paths described, I would like to introduce a system at ROWE that regularly makes suitable suggestions for further training to employees - at all levels. In this way, we can not only encourage junior staff in particular to develop further, but also provide them with specific support.


Expanding support in the blue collar sector

First of all, I'm not a big fan of the distinction between white and blue collar. For me, employees in production have the same status as employees in the office. But that is precisely why I want to significantly improve the development of our employees in production. To this end, I would like to extend the system of annual employee appraisals, which also focus on personal development opportunities, to all employees. Like many other industrial companies, we always have a high demand for skilled workers, especially in production. I am convinced that one of the ways we can cover this is by training and developing previously unskilled workers ourselves.


Introducing an internal mentoring program

I have experienced how valuable it is to have a mentor. Someone who takes you under their wing. That still happens at ROWE today - but more spontaneously. I would like to organize this better structurally and introduce a mentoring program. This should also run through all areas of the company. Experienced employees support junior levels: in my opinion, this is the strongest instrument for genuinely promoting young talents.


Create your own offers for pupils and students

ROWE regularly participates in events and programs organized by schools, universities and the employment agency. Pupils and students are already able to gain an insight into ROWE. This has been so successful that I would like to expand it further with my own resources. In future, there will be regular opportunities for pupils and students to gain insights into various professions at ROWE. These can lead up to intensive one-day internships, for which you can register without any red tape. In this way, we want to intensify contact with potential junior staff.

Promoting young talents, strengthening ROWE

Promoting young talents is a task for society as a whole. But we companies also have a great responsibility. I would like to take on this responsibility. Not only because I am convinced that it is the right thing to do - but also because we can strengthen ROWE by doing so. Not all of my ideas will be implemented overnight. But, as the new Managing Director, I will work hard on them.




Stefan Wermter

About the person

As a member of the Executive Board, Stefan Wermter is in charge of operations at ROWE MINERALÖLWERK GMBH. From 2024 he will be its managing director. Stefan Wermter started at ROWE in 2002 as a customer service representative and was able to develop from team leader in internal sales to head of product and sales controlling. In 2019, he was appointed to the management team. Stefan Wermter is married and father of a daughter. He has more than 20 years of experience in the lubricants industry and has played a key role in ROWE's rise to become a global company.

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