The formula for good degrees
One explores the deposit for the crude salt with the highest valuable material content. The other one is responsible for providing our products to our customers at a consistently high level of quality. Zielitz mining technologist Julian Weber and Wintershall chemical technician Luisa Rohrbach completed their apprenticeship at K+S this summer with excellent marks - although they originally had other career plans.
Luisa Rohrbach's workplace is the control room of the ESTA plant at the Wintershall site. She regulates, controls, and monitors the production with a digital process control system. Minor maintenance work also belongs to the daily shift routine. In the plant, minerals are separated from each other by a high voltage electrical field. Part of the job is to regularly take samples from the ongoing production, because: "Our crude salt is a natural product and not "off the shelf," so the mineral contents vary. The crude salt composition can also change during a shift," Luisa Rohrbach explains. In the laboratory right next to the control room, the chemical technician analyzes as well as records the samples and adjusts the operation of the plant if necessary. "With my work, I contribute to providing our customers with products of consistently high quality."
Julian Weber is also an expert on the mineral content of crude salt. After completing his training as a mining technologist specializing in deep drilling technology, he works as an explorer at the Zielitz mine, tracking down minerals worth mining. For this purpose, he drills horizontal holes into the rock, 500-700 meters long. "With my work, I lay the foundation for the extraction process. The drilled-out salts provide the geology colleagues with information about the composition of our deposit. They are looking for high K2O contents," Julian Weber explains. The data obtained is used in short-, medium- and long-term mining planning.
The different minerals, their formation, and composition have always fascinated me."
Skills for professional life
Julian Weber works with his stationary drilling rig, a Diamec, usually for 2 - 3 months at a time at one location, currently at the Zielitzer mine's District 5 West. Like most underground jobs, Julian Weber's is a single workstation. That's no problem for the 23-year-old. During his training, he gained the necessary skills and self-confidence: "Bit by bit, I became more independent over the three years until I was allowed to operate the drill rig on my own at the end of the training."
Luisa Rohrbach acquired a clear picture of her future job during her training and wished to be deployed in the control room afterwards. "Now I have responsibility and make decisions myself," says the 21-year-old. Nevertheless, she is glad about the control room always being manned by more than one employee anyway, and that her colleagues are there to support her.
Love at second sight
Originally, the high school graduate from Sontra in Hesse had a different career aspiration: she wanted to become a policewoman. Instead, Luisa Rohrbach became interested in K+S. "I like natural sciences, particularly math and physics. That's why the job profile of a chemical technician appealed to me." She also enthusiastically completed the varied practical modules during her training - electrical, metal, and laboratory. Due to her excellent performance, she was even able to shorten her training from 3.5 years to 3 years.
Julian Weber also had other plans after graduating from high school. After 2 semesters, however, he decided to quit his studies of mineralogy/geology at the Technical University of Freiberg because he lacked a practical orientation. Nevertheless, the alternative was closer than he thought: The Magdeburg native became interested in K+S through friends. During his training at the Zielitz potash plant, he succeeded in combining his great interest in geology and his desire for a practical job. "The different minerals, their formation, and composition have always fascinated me."
So, the formula for an excellent training degree is obvious: do what you love! Two other important ingredients: Trainers who encourage as well as motivate, and colleagues who are always approachable. Julian Weber and Luisa Rohrbach particularly emphasize the friendliness and helpfulness in their professional environment.
Now I have responsibility and make decisions myself."
Next step already in planning
Even though it is fun to apply what they have learned in their "real" jobs now, both have already found out what further training opportunities K+S has to offer. They hope that Studium+, will be offered again next year, after K+S suspended it this year. "I can well imagine adding studies on top of the training. Obviously, geology - but this time with a practical focus. With the Studium+ program, I would always have to go back to the plant to work during the semester breaks," says Julian Weber. For Luisa Rohrbach, further training at the technical school in Clausthal would also be an option. In any case, she wants to focus on process engineering to work in the areas of quality or the environment at some point in the future. "Don't just stand still!" is her motto.
You can find more information about our apprenticeships here.