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150 Years of BÖHLER and new traditions in Austria’s Ybbs Valley

150 Years of BÖHLER and new traditions in Austria’s Ybbs Valley

Metalworking jobs are only for men? And apprenticeships turn boys into men? After 150 years of BÖHLER production, such ideas no longer have anything to do with traditional values.

In this article

The group photo “Bruckbacherhütte 1911” highlights the all-male workforce.

Historical group photo of the workers in the rolling mill of voetslpine Böhler Profil
Admittedly, there are still no women working in the open rolling mill at voestalpine BÖHLER in 2022, but they cannot be overlooked in other positions in the production process. 

Metal goes female

Environment and Safety Manager Sandra D. confirms this development: “We currently have three female colleagues working in the finishing department and, to be honest, their presence is very good for the shift atmosphere.” As voestalpine BÖHLER Profil, the former male domain at “Bruckbacher Hütte” is becoming increasingly female. This is evident in more than the remodeled social rooms. “Our female apprentices feel welcome and are quickly integrated into the team,” says Sandra D. And she should know because she is also the company’s apprentice representative. Materials Technician Nina B. can wholeheartedly confirm this from the perspective of a former apprentice at BÖHLER:

“I feel that in this day and age, gender no longer plays a role. At least not here. What counts here is performance, regardless of whether you’re male or female.”

Apprenticeship is awesome

Apprentice trainer Denise K. is one of the women whose performance impresses. “I made the decision to work as an apprentice trainer at voestalpine Precision Strip in the third year of my apprenticeship. I was thrilled when I was asked if I could imagine becoming an apprentice trainer because I like the training here so much.” Her joining the apprentice trainer team is also a reflection of the increasing percentage of female apprentices.

The trained Mechanical Technician has thrown herself into her new job and is openly enthusiastic: “I love working with young people because you can really help them grow. They come into the working world fresh out of school and when you bid them farewell three and a half to four years later, they already have their own apartment and are independent. Witnessing that is awesome.”

It is always a great feeling when they finish their exams and you can say you’re sending them off into the vast working world.

Denise K.

Elias H. is one of voestalpine Precision Strip’s apprentices. Two years ago, he came to see what it was like—and stayed because he liked it. “The versatility of the training, the practical experience, and then you get to work on several machines at the same time—that’s really cool!” says the future Toolmaking Technician. He is impressed, for example, by the “totally cool” eroding machines that work with thousandth accuracy so that e.g. fittings really fit.

Apprentice trainer Denise K. and Elias, toolmaking technology apprentice at Böhler
Apprentice trainer Denise K. and Elias, toolmaking technology apprentice

New tree for traditions.

Training has a long tradition at BÖHLER. What was a work in progress in the 19th century was truly established in 1928 with the opening of the first in-house school at BÖHLER. And in 1940 the new, modern training center opened in Böhlerwerk: a three-story building designed to accommodate 90 to 100 apprentices in three classes for machinists, toolmakers, turners, forgers, electricians, and industrial clerks. Today, the term “Jugendsteel” encompasses all aspects and benefits of an apprenticeship at voestalpine Precision Strip, including new graduation traditions. “Only we have these,” says Elias H. “and the medallion tradition is really cool.” He is looking forward to graduating from his apprenticeship training. Because when apprentices successfully complete their training, a white flag is hoisted in their honor and then the newly graduated skilled workers nail a small round medallion with their name and job title onto the big board in the training center. And this “jugendsteel tree” is already bearing proud fruit.

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Die voestalpine ist ein weltweit führender Stahl- und Technologiekonzern mit kombinierter Werkstoff- und Verarbeitungskompetenz. Die global tätige Unternehmensgruppe verfügt über rund 500 Konzerngesellschaften und -standorte in mehr als 50 Ländern auf allen fünf Kontinenten. Sie notiert seit 1995 an der Wiener Börse. Mit ihren Premium-Produkt- und Systemlösungen zählt sie zu den führenden Partnern der Automobil- und Hausgeräteindustrie sowie der Luftfahrt- und Öl- & Gasindustrie und ist darüber hinaus Weltmarktführer bei Bahninfrastruktursystemen, bei Werkzeugstahl und Spezialprofilen. Die voestalpine bekennt sich zu den globalen Klimazielen und verfolgt mit greentec steel einen klaren Plan zur Dekarbonisierung der Stahlproduktion.