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Rehm Thermal Systems, a provider of reflow soldering systems and drying and coating systems for the electronics industry, employs over 600 people worldwide. The site in Blaubeuren alone employs a workforce that’s pooled from more than 26 countries. Rehm continues its commitment to finding, hiring and training qualified talent from around the globe.
"We are dependent on foreign specialists—above all, in the development and construction segments, but also in the field of software, for mechatronics engineers and technicians," says Joachim Erhard, HR manager. "Due to the low unemployment rate, we had to broaden our horizons and reach for new recruitment opportunities."
The Alb-Donau region is fortunate: it can boast full employment as the unemployment rate is at just around 2%. For the companies in this region however, this means one thing—a skills shortage—on top of rising demand for qualified professionals. For this reason, Rehm Thermal Systems has been successfully recruiting skilled workers from abroad for some time now.
The contact to potential new employees came about through international trade fairs and job fairs such as the careers day for skilled specialists in Neu-Ulm, the careers fair in Ulm or Sinojobs in Munich, not to mention through Rehm’s customers who operate on an international level.
"It is relatively easy to find international specialists; the difficulty lies in bringing these specialists to Germany," Erhard explains.
Those responsible for the recruitment of international specialists at Rehm have received a great deal of assistance from the Welcome Center Ulm/Oberschwaben, located at the Ulm Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
"The Welcome Center has been a great help to us in many aspects: in helping us to correctly adhere to authorisation procedure, particularly when it comes to recognising university education, the content of study courses at these foreign universities, and the official certification of degrees and diplomas," Erhard adds.
Figure 1: Joachim Erhard and Dhanya Thondukulam Kannan.
A retrainee mechatronics engineer from Iraq, a machining specialist from Syria, a software engineer from Cameroon, and a Chinese electrical systems designer all work at Rehm; the fields of employment are just as diverse as the employees’ countries of origin. They work directly on the systems, develop and implement software, or engineer the systems themselves.
Rehm is searching for specialists in nearly all areas, and in the best cases, it finds them. Dhanya Thondukulam Kannan, from India, has been working as a software developer at Rehm for approximately two years. Among other things, she is responsible for MES applications support as well as software integration.
"I want to work here in the region because there are many companies here and therefore many prospects and opportunities available," says Kannan. However, integrating into life in Germany was not always easy for her due mainly to language difficulties. "The German language and the Swabian dialect are extremely difficult," she explains.
"We at Rehm have noted very good experiences with international specialists to date. We will continue on this path in order to meet our need for specialists in the future," says Erhard.
During the integration process, it is extremely important to those responsible that their new colleagues feel at ease. To this end, Rehm offers an ‘all-round package’, Erhard points out. "We support our employees in finding their feet in Germany, with the day-to-day practicalities, starting with somewhere to live, on through their language course and even to opening their bank account," he says.