university dropout to apprentice

Dropout to Apprentice



lack jealous apprentice
apply private applicant
public facility construct
fuse take on dropout
leisure trainee theoretical
suit (2) handle (2) calm and collected
put off restless predetermined
regret counselor undecided
rival all sorts in the least
attend time off





Not long ago, he was a university student . . . but Timo Uetz soon tired of attending lectures and studying math.

He was interested in electronics and decided to train as an apprentice.

Now he’s helping to construct a fuse box for a hospital.

Timo Uetz: “I started off studying energy, building services and environmental engineering . . . but quickly realized it was quite theoretical and includes all sorts of subjects that didn’t interest me.

I was interested in electronics and decided to apprentice in that.”

This company is happy to have him. Three of its apprentice positions went unfilled this year, for lack of applicants.

The family business built electrical systems for companies, government offices and other public facilities.

The firm keeps growing and the boss would like to take on more trainees, especially university dropouts like Timo Uetz.

Svenja Erpenstein, Erpenstein Electrical Engineering: “He’s more calm and collected, and after quitting university, he knows what he wants. He’s picked a new career path in something he can handle.

And that’s something younger people don’t know for sure yet — they’re a bit more restless.”

Her firm is located on the outskirts of Munster, a university town. With all the young people around, you’d think it would be easy to fill apprenticeships.

But most high school grads enroll at university instead.

However, many later do quit: one-quarter of all students across Germany.

Now the country’s employment agency is targeting these college dropouts, like 27 year old Julia Opgen-Rhein, who’s come for a consultation.

Marianne Jaehnike, German Employment Office Career Advisor: “And how are you?”
Julia Opgen-Rhein, University Dropout: “I’m still very undecided. Unfortunately, my studies are over. I don’t have a masters and urgently need an alternative; a new vocation I would be suited to and which I can handle.”

After seven years, she quit her teacher training course — it was a relief.

Julia Opgen-Rhein, University Dropout: “I always had the feeling I couldn’t do it. I kept putting off the assignments and the exams. I didn’t want to go see my instructors anymore.

And it took me a while to realize that I was unhappy with my studies.

It bothered me that my future was being a teacher . . . that it was all predetermined.

Inside, I realized that it wasn’t for me — that I couldn’t be happy doing this for the next 40 years.”

Now she wants to train to be a software developer.

Job counselor Marianne Jaehnike, has dealt with many such cases, in which young people spend years studying things they don’t like.

Marianne Jaehnike, German Employment Office Career Adviser: “But over the years, they get a much better interest in their strengths and develop the courage to explore the areas that are suited to their personality and interests.”

Timo Uetz is done for the day. In a year-and-a-half, he will take his exams and become an electronics technician.

Does he ever regret dropping out of college?

Timo Uetz: “No, not at all. Many of my friends are students and I see what they are doing and I’m not jealous in the least.

I see them sitting at their desks and learning, when I have time off. So for me, it’s absolutely not a problem that they’re students and I’m not anymore.”

While his friends hit the books, Timo Uetz can enjoy his leisure time and is already earning money.

And once he becomes a master electronics technician, his income will rival that of many university graduates.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Timo changed his career path. Is this correct or wrong? Why did he decide to change his career path?

2. Is Erpenstein Electrical Engineering Describe the business situation at Erpenstein Electrical Engineering.

3. Apprenticeships are very popular among young people (at the Erpenstein Electrical Engineering). True or false? Is there a lack of apprentices due to a lack of young people in Munster?

4. Who do employment agencies and companies try to recruit for apprenticeships? Why do they target them?

5. Describe Julia’s situation. What happened to her?

6. Does Timo miss being a university student?

7. Tradesman or skilled workers never earn more than university graduates. Yes or no?
A. What are most (young) people’s attitudes towards attending college or university versus doing an apprenticeship? Why do they feel this way?

B. Is there a difference in opinion among business people, parents, teachers, government officials and political leasers?

C. Are you more interested in academics and white-collar professions; or apprenticeship and skill, blue-collar work? What about your friends or classmates?

D. Do you know anyone who went to university . . . and then later got a blue-collar job, or vice versa?

E. What do you think will happen in the future?


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