Like most of Europe, Germany has its economic problems. One of them is that thousands of apprenticeship positions remain unfilled each year. With much emphasis on high-tech and other trendy occupations, who’d want to train for three years as a car mechanic, house painter, or carpenter — all the while being paid minimum wages? Meanwhile, young people with less-than-brilliant school-leaving grades are unable to find employment.
Along comes a creative Kraftfahrzeugmeister (master mechanic) in Berlin who asked the local employment office to send him the worst applicant. The young man selected had missed 56 days of classes during his last year in school and barely managed to graduate. Now, three years later and without having missed a single day of work, he’s a well-paid journeyman mechanic at a Porsche dealership. Interviewed on the radio, he credits “being taken seriously,” “respected as a human being,” and “made to feel appreciated” as keys to his success. His former master is once more looking for an applicant some might call a loser.