Earlier, i asked https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/21867/how-should-i-interfere-the-training-of-our-companys-new-apprentice and experienced very negative reactions.

I rethought my attitude and came to the conclusion that most of the stuff that was mentioned in both the answers and the comments is true.

However, this does not change my situation and I am still in need of help. I will explain why I believe that I need to do something and what I would like to achieve.

Why I feel the urge to take a move

Bad practices and low skill

When I joined my company, I was looking forward to training I could build my career on. I had some experience with the field at this time and was excited to learn new stuff.

It took me about 3 months to realize that my trainer was unable to teach me anything valuable. His programming skills mostly involved the ability to search for a specific snippet on Google and copy paste it into another one. He often cannot answer even basic questions, is unaware about the terminology used in that field and is using outdated technologies. His code is chaotic and he is unable to explain the processes. He is working against commonly accepted best practices and is unwilling to improve his skills or learn something new. I consider the way he designs his software harmful and dangerous.

Zero interest in the training by leadership

A lot of the tasks we have to do are completely outside of the job description.

While I know that this is true to some degree for nearly all companies, it is becoming rife in this case.

The boss of the company is uninterested in his trainees. He searches for cheap personnel and is making no bones about it. He gives advice to teach them to do tasks which have absolutely nothing to do with software development, even if that means that there is no time to focus on the actual training.

When I tried to talk about the issues with both the boss and my trainer, I experienced zero interest in improving the situation from either of them. The boss in particular is denying the fact that there is no actual training. When I mentioned that those trainees are trying to build a career, they went silent.

What I want to achieve

I would like to let the new apprentice know that this company simply cannot teach him software development in a way that would be useful for his later career in its current state.

I would also like to point out the fact that the trainees are abused as cheap personnel.

My main target is to provide a way that will allow him to get most out of the situation, but I am unsure how to do that as none of the executives are listening to me.

I am aware that I am taking a risk with this and also that I am intervening in business that is not mine. I believe that whether or not I should do that, is primary opinion based, so please do not try to convince me to quit. I am looking for advice about how I can achieve what I want.

  • Joe, i can not see how this question doesn't show any research effort yada yada, so first, I don't get your downvote. Also, i don't understand your hatred. If you disagree with me and have nothing to say that could be useful to me, why do you bother? The "next newbie" is what kicked my idea and I want to help him. – Wottensprels Apr 1 '14 at 17:11
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not a constructive question as written. – enderland Apr 1 '14 at 17:14
  • @JoeStrazzere, I am sorry that I failed to express what I search for for the second time. I posted that second question to ensure that there are no more misconceptions, but it seems that I am indeed thinking to narrow. What bothered me was your unobjective tune (yada yada) and I feeled like you thought I was complaining over nothing. Thanks for your and everyone elses participation, I'll handle the situation as it comes. Have a nice day – Wottensprels Apr 1 '14 at 17:36
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    @JoeStrazzere You are a very tolerant person if the only thing you dislike is duplicate question ;-) – Lamak Apr 1 '14 at 17:48
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    I think if you step back and try to approach the question with the intent of not badmouthing your employer or coworkers, you would have better luck. Almost everything can be improved asking how to do that is respectable. You do not have to beat up your company or your coworkers to do that, and doing so makes your question appear less than a sincere attempt to reach out for help. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 1 '14 at 18:10

If you want to let someone know something, you talk to them. It's not that hard.

Since this is a serious topic to you, you may want to invite the newbie out to lunch. People listen when there's food involved.

And now for some unsolicited & probably unwanted advice:

Management isn't listening to you, & you're unhappy. The "warning" you wish to give the newbie is not likely to be all that useful. If it's as bad as you say, the newbie will have figured it out already.

What positive outcome do you expect from this "warning"? Since management won't fix the issue, the only action you or the newbie can take is quit.

What do you expect the newbie to do with this warning? Quit? If so, why haven't you taken your own advice?

  • I haven't quit because when I realized that there are issues with the company, it was to late. I'll quit as soon as my contract ends. The newbie had his first day today, so I hope he'll get it for himself. I hoped for any chance to improve the situation, but as i read yours and other opinions, i begin to believe that you are right when you say that there is nothing I can do – Wottensprels Apr 1 '14 at 17:39
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    @Sprottenwels - There is something you can do. Learn to write good code on your own and share it with the new person. Review each other's code. Refactor the other mess. Many new developers get stuck with solo jobs and learn on their own. – user8365 Apr 1 '14 at 18:56

Generally, if you notice something is not optimal, prepare to make it better. If you think the trainer is not qualified, try to become the new trainer and do a better job.

Specifically for your situation in Germany:

Get to be a trainer yourself. Every IHK (Industrie und Handelskammer / ~ Chamber of Commerce) provides courses for Ausbilder (trainers). They are called AEVO or "Ausbilder der Ausbilder" ( ~training the trainers). They can be taken as two full weeks or in the evenings for about half a year or on the weekends. The best thing: you can use your "Bildungsurlaub" for it. It's certified. You can take the two week course and your management has to give you paid time off for it.

However, please note that this indeed is a risk. While they have to grant you paid days off by law, they will not like it. In addition, they will wonder why you want to be a trainer when they already have one. If you talk the way you did here, they will think you are nothing but trouble and will probably try to get rid of you. You will need to sell this to management as something good.

Maybe you can ask your local IHK for advice. They supervise all "Ausbildungsverhältnisse" (training contracts) and they are interested in good results. Your company is surely not the first they deal with. Abusing trainees as cheap full time employees is really a stereotypical scenario that gets taught in those courses. Contact them. It's their job to help.


I would like to add a little explanation, although it's not part of the answer. Most comments I read are totally understandable in the context of an international forum, where "training" is somewhat unspecified and can mean about anything. But in Germany, the "Ausbildung" (training) is a highly formalized (what else would you expect from Germany), state approved process that is not left to the company to decide. "Ausbildung" is roughly equivalent to a BS in fields that can be practically taught. Computer Science would be one of them. The company and the trainee have a contract just like a work contract, but neither side can easily terminate it. Dependent on the job, most Ausbildungen go over a time of 3 years. That is done to protect the trainees. It is virtually impossible to fire a trainee. You cannot even lay them off. Short of criminal behaviour, an Ausbildung is safe. You will do your 3 years, you will go to school in parallel and when you passed your exams, you are now a certified professional in your field.

Ausbildung is supposed to teach the trainees in the field of their job. They are specially protected by the law. It is downright illegal for me as a trainer to give them jobs that would not regularly be done by anyone in my field.

Example: if the developers do turns washing the dishes in the kitchen, then I can order the trainees to do their turn. Ordering the trainees to do the dishes so the other developers don't have to is not just something "not nice that you have to suck up as a trainee". It's against the law.

For obvious reasons, trainees would rather do something they should not have to than risk to displease their employer, who will have influence on their final letter of reference, but that does not make it more legal.

What I meant to say is: Ausbildung in Germany is not just another training where you have to endure whatever it takes. It's not only the trainers moral duty to do well, it's his duty in front of the law.

Every trainee has the right to a good education. And what a "good education" is, is not negotiable and definetly not determined by the training company.

  • Thanks for this helpful information. Sadly, I think it is impossible to sell this as something good to the management, they are uninterested in qualified trainers. I already contacted the IHK, but that guy told me that there is little he could do, and he would like to speak to the boss in first place. This won't do me no good, too. – Wottensprels Apr 1 '14 at 17:47
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    I would like to say a very special thanks for the latter part of this answer. nvoigt pointed out the most important part of this issue, that I, I'm embarassed to admit, completely forgot. I am glad to see that maybe I am not at all so wrong when I try to assume my right to get an education that is worth the money it costs the community and that's purpose it is to ensure that i can take participation in that community. – Wottensprels Apr 1 '14 at 19:05

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