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Did you know ... What Fatih Avgören does?

Fatih Avgören fortunately decided against a career as a lawyer in favour of the forge at MENZEL. What helped him in his decision and later in his training and how he came to work as a certified international welding specialist at MENZEL today - find out in our latest interview.

Hi Fatih, you recently successfully completed your training as an international welding specialist. Congratulations! What exactly can you do now?

I am now a certified international welding specialist. This means that I know how to check welding workpieces, write instructions (so-called WPS) and carry out quality inspections. I have also been trained in how to supervise and instruct welding personnel.

How did the training come about?

I'm actually a trained electrical engineer. I started my apprenticeship at MENZEL in 2015 and successfully completed it three and a half years later. I had already realised during my apprenticeship that I enjoyed welding. Mr Leßmann, our welding specialist, saw this and asked me if I would like to do the official basic welding pass after my training. In 2019, I went straight after my apprenticeship to the training centre (SLV Berlin Brandenburg, Germany), where I was able to obtain the official basic welder's pass. I welded full-time for two and a half weeks - mainly the positions that are important and common for our company and that we need regularly. So you pre-weld, it's x-rayed, checked and broken to see if you can weld well.

With the welder's certificate in my pocket, my interest in welding has continued to grow over the last few years. I then decided to go one step further and become an international welding specialist. And that was also well received by the company.

What do you mean by that? To what extent did MENZEL support you?

Well, I can explain how it actually started: I spoke to Mr Menzel and told him that I was planning to do further training for three months and take a break from work for that time. My plan was to take my 30 days‘ holiday in one go and then take two weeks’ unpaid leave. Mr Menzel was a bit taken aback and said that it was a lot to expect financially. But I said: okay, I've prepared myself for it. And then he said: Would you perhaps be interested in the company covering the costs of the training and the continued payment of wages for the three months? I hadn't expected that at all, because we already have a trained and very experienced welding specialist in my department with Mr Leßmann. I was really a bit surprised and gladly accepted the offer. I signed an agreement to work at Menzel for at least another three years. That's understandable, because it gives the company planning security in return.

After the conversation with Mr Menzel, I also had a conversation with our Commercial Director, Mr Achhammer. Both of them made it very clear that they want us to continue our training and development. That was a point that really motivated me. I said to myself twice: okay, I really want to be successful with this. I don't want to disappoint the company or myself. And this experience gave me the feeling that I was welcome at MENZEL and that I would be in good hands in the long term.

How was the knowledge imparted as part of the training programme?

It was three months in a row, full-time training from Monday to Friday, again at the SLV in Berlin. We had different lecturers, some of whom were professors from universities. And they tried to teach everything you need to know as a welding specialist in the various specialist areas and where you need to be able to communicate in a short space of time. The subjects included, for example, materials science, physics and maths. Some of the lessons were quite in-depth, for example in materials science or statics. Although it is not one of the tasks of a welding specialist to be able to calculate statics, it is important to be able to judge from a basic technical understanding whether the workpiece would hold as it is or whether something needs to be changed. Another example is being able to judge dimensional drawings. Every detail is very important here, for example how an arrow is aligned or how slim it is drawn, where the dimensions are placed, etc.. That's really demanding and I now have even more respect for people who make such drawings.

We also carried out laboratory tests as part of our materials science lessons: we went to a workshop where external companies can send in material samples. We then checked whether the materials submitted really had the desired composition and whether the quality class of the material was as promised by the dealer. That was definitely very interesting.

How did the final examination work?

The exam was divided into three parts that built on each other. Part 2 is a 10-day work placement in the school workshop, in which you learn different ways of welding, both under supervision and independently. For example MAG welding, TIG welding, electrode welding. After each of the three parts, there was a written and an oral exam. And fortunately I passed them all successfully.

The Menzel welding team
Ricardo Leßmann (left) and Fatih Avgören (right) - welding specialists at MENZEL
Precise welding work at the MENZEL motor plant
Precise welding work at the MENZEL motor plant

And does your actual work at MENZEL change anything for you now?

Yes and no. Before the training programme, I always worked as a stand-in in assembly or in the welding shop. Now I actually only work in the welding shop and use my knowledge there. The instructional responsibility that a welding specialist has still lies with Mr Leßmann, who has the position with us. But of course we exchange ideas, I ask him questions and he also asks me, because I'm fresh out of school now. And I also have the ambition to tackle and solve things independently. So we support each other.

Did you always realise that you wanted to work with your hands?

I made very good use of my work placements when I was at school. My first internship in year 8 was at a law firm. However, I realised relatively quickly that an office job wasn't for me and that I didn't want to become a lawyer. My next internships were always in the skilled trades: from car mechanic to cutting machine operator and also plant mechanic at Berliner Wasserbetriebe. This allowed me to gain a lot of experience, which really helped me later during my apprenticeship: for example, I was already familiar with files and saws and was allowed to use the lathe and milling machine during my internships - together with journeymen, of course. I even built something myself during my internship that I still use for work today. It was a tap wrench for a thread cutter.

After leaving school, I applied to various companies and then decided in favour of MENZEL from several offers, partly because it was really attractive financially and a somewhat larger company.

Why do you see it as an advantage to work in a slightly larger company?

In smaller craft businesses, the pay is lower and the pressure is greater. And it's also not easy to ‘survive’ there, I mean with older colleagues who are well-rehearsed and not always willing to change. It's somehow more difficult to gain a foothold there as a young person than at MENZEL, for example. Our workforce is very mixed in terms of age. It wasn't always like that. I think it started in 2019 with a lot of young people coming in. I think it's important that something fresh keeps coming in. One of Mr Menzel's favourite words is ‘efficiency’. And it has to be said that the young colleagues are always providing new impetus to further develop the company in this sense and want to move with the times - for example, to make everyday work easier and optimise work steps. Of course, this happens in combination with the experience of older colleagues.

Speaking of experience: Do you already have new training plans?

I definitely want to continue my training! The next step would probably be - I haven't quite decided yet - to become a state-certified welding technician.