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Created by Anna Wald, 3. Lehrjahr Industriekauffrau.

Seminar ‘Economy in practice – the social market economy system’ 5–8 August 2019

The one-week seminar for apprentices called ‘Economy in practice – the social market system’ was organised by the vem. Employers' Association and took place at the Akademie Biggesee in Attendorn.

Each year, two of our second year apprentices attend the seminar, which is why we, Robin Dill (metal cutting mechanic apprentice) and I, Anna Wald (industrial management assistant apprentice), were two of the 14 apprentices from the Verband Rhineland/Rheinhessen who were able to learn a lot in the seminar about how social market economies work.

On the first day, we went moved into our single rooms in the morning and then were given some general information about the hostel and the seminar during the welcoming session. In the afternoon, we were divided into groups of three and four to work on the simulation game tasks. With the help of instructors, the goal of each working group or business group was to run their ‘own company’ as profitably as possible through four simulation periods.

On the second day, we ran through the first two periods in which we were able to decide freely about various factors such as hiring/firing, investment, etc. At the end of each period, the data was handed over to the instructor and then jointly analysed and compared in the group, creating a competition between the individual ‘companies’.

Between the periods, we learned from individual presentations about how our economy works, business goals, what principles underpin the social market economy, and which tasks each individual has in this economic and social order. Then we played the third period, with an increasing number of decisions to make.

On the third day we conducted a collective bargaining process in the form of a role-playing exercise, where we, of course, represented the employer’s side. Then the final game period began.

On the last day, the working groups had to prepare and present an AGM for their ‘shareholders’ to establish which company had been run most efficiently. We set off for home in the afternoon.

As part of the seminar, we were able to implement the topic we had discussed on our own initiative and gain even more experience. As participants, we had learned how the main features of a business function and how difficult it is to position a company in the market.

We wish all future apprentices at Bilstein & Siekermann® a great time and success next year.

Anna Wald, 3rd year industrial management assistant apprenticeship

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