Tobias Ilg knows exactly what he wants. “You have to do what you’re passionate about”, says the young man who follows his path resolutely. This determination has already brought the 20-year-old a long way. He wasn’t only declared the best industrial mechanic of his year in Baden-Wuerttemberg, he was also the most successful commercial–technical apprentice in all of Eastern Wuerttemberg. This year 1,014 young men and women completed their examination at the Eastern Wuerttemberg Chamber of Commerce for 66 commercial apprenticeship occupations. At the very top: Tobias Ilg with an outstanding 99 of 100 points and a perfect grade in his graduation certificate.
“He is someone who works very quickly and precisely”, says Uwe Heßler, Head of Training and Further Education at MAPAL, of his former apprentice, whom he is very proud of. Tobias is very easy-going in conversation. He answers questions directly and precisely. Without needing to think long, his responses seem to bubble out of him.
Tobias comes from the town of Neuler in the quaint Kocher Valley. He grew up with four Shetland ponies, who were part of the family; taking care of them was a great joy to him. Machines and gadgets were used to make hay, harvest and do other work for the ‘Shetties’. Whether tractor, tedder or carriage – there was always something to fix, and Tobias would look over his father Thomas’s shoulder or help where he could. It was a formative experience. “I was seized by a passion for technology back then”, says the young man, who went to school in Abtsgmünd. And so as a teenager, he decided that he wanted to do his A-level and study machine engineering. But first, he wanted to complete an apprenticeship, because he ‘wanted to learn everything from scratch’.
"An internship is a great thing"
Tobias asked around, visited apprenticeship fairs and completed trial internships at different companies. “I liked the tight-knit atmosphere at MAPAL. I was on the same wavelength with the trainers from the start and was allowed to work on real machines right away.” He advises future graduates that an internship is a great thing ‘and very important’. It was useful for him. “At MAPAL, they let me do a sample recruitment test, which none of the other companies did.” He applied at MAPAL directly after the internship and was pretty self-confident going into the application process. During his apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic, he first learned basic skills and worked in the Fixture Production, Mechatronic Systems and Maintenance departments. “I particularly liked working in Maintenance. Machines and devices were serviced, inspected and repaired. I already knew all about this from my childhood”, he says with a wink.
Less time and big plans for the future
The avid technology fan, whose hobby is ‘tinkering with vehicles and gadgets’, is now attending the polytechnical secondary school at the municipal vocation training centre in Aalen. What’s different now? “During my apprenticeship, everything just came easy. Now, I have to apply myself more often.” He has little time for his hobby. But he has a goal in mind: he wants to complete his A-levels in two years. “And then I want to come back to the company and start a dual study programme.”