Generation Future.

How commercial vehicle workshops are committed to the Unimog specialists of the future.

The shortage of young talent is a problem facing virtually every sector. Companies have been experiencing an increasing lack of skilled workers for many years. In the automotive industry, this shortage is hitting commercial vehicles particularly hard. Compared to passenger cars, they are at an even greater disadvantage – and yet this field of activity is a very exciting one. Given that workshops offer such attractive assignments and opportunities, more and more of them are proactively committed to promoting young talent in this area. The attraction of many campaigns is the Unimog from Mercedes-Benz.

Promotion of young talent begins in school; within companies, it must be an integral part of the culture.

A common complaint from the commercial vehicle industry is that finding and retaining suitable personnel is becoming more difficult year on year. This starts with training. There’s no shortage of young people with a fascination for vehicles, repair work, etc. However, the physical strain of working as a truck mechatronics technician is perceived to be greater than in the passenger car sector. This discourages a lot of people.

It is therefore more important than ever to get the next generation interested in the industry at as early a stage as possible. In addition to face-to-face events such as education fairs, school internships are a particularly valuable opportunity for workshops today – not only to offer young people guidance as they enter the world of work, but also to present themselves as an exciting company for prospective trainees. After all, the outlook is promising: it is not uncommon for a school internship to turn into a training programme, complete with a specialist technical qualification.

The solution sounds simple, but the goal is to live it: companies that offer training positions must retain their specialists in the long term – through professional training, showing appreciation for their employees’ work, and offering a good work-life balance. The good news is that the conditions for this are very good in many places.

The pathway to becoming a truck mechatronics technician (m/f/x).

  • 3.5-year programme of training
  • Requirements:
    • Personal interest in the industry
    • Physical fitness
    • Reliability
    • Sense of responsibility
  • Advantages:
    • Good work-life balance
    • Benefits (depending on the company) include: free truck driving licence, training, coverage of travel costs, mobile phone contract, work bike

A job for specialists: not everyone can do the Unimog.

Choosing to become a truck mechatronics technician means choosing a job with great potential. Personal talent is particularly promoted even at the training stage. One of the major challenges in commercial vehicle workshops is the Unimog – because the Special Truck from Mercedes-Benz is truly exceptional and, many say, "the top choice of every vehicle mechatronics technician".

The Unimog has a very clear unique selling point. While municipal trucks and vans are easier to handle and assemble, the versatile Unimog requires particular precision. For some trainees, this even makes the Special Truck an attraction and particular motivation for undertaking a training programme. It’s not for nothing that the Unimog is described by experts as the Swiss army knife of the automotive industry: the commercial vehicle bearing the three-pointed star offers versatility – its areas of application and numerous implements make it unique. However, the hydraulics of these implements in particular are complex. Conversely, this also means that if you can do the Unimog, you can do anything.

Exciting workshop campaigns to promote young talent.

Many workshops are actively committed to counteracting the shortage of skilled workers and, above all, to positively influencing the promotion of young talent.

Unimog U 500 Challenge (MLT)

The commercial vehicle service provider MLT Maschinen Logistik Technik GmbH & Co. KG from Thuringia, which has a total of 10 workshops and around 40 employees (including three trainees), invests a great deal in promoting young talent within the company. In addition to numerous benefits, which even include a free truck driving licence, the service provider for commercial vehicle and municipal technology places a particular focus on the personal and professional development of its trainees, including in popular day-long training courses. However, long-term projects also aim to motivate, challenge and, above all, retain young talent.

In 2020, MLT initiated an in-house trainee project. The focus of the project was the complete overhaul of a 2010 Unimog U 500 from the company’s own fleet. The first step was to examine the Special Truck in detail and get to know every screw and thread. The Unimog U 500 was then rebuilt from scratch. Individual parts of the assemblies were overhauled and reassembled after painting and sandblasting – under the leadership of an expert technician in the training programme and with the involvement of all trainees. Tight installation spaces, lots of electrics, all in a compact space. But after a project duration of one and a half years, the MLT team completed this Unimog challenge. As the crowning glory, the trainees had the opportunity to join the anniversary parade from the Wörth plant to Gaggenau with their overhauled Special Truck as part of the 75 Years of Unimog event. A memorable experience that brings (and keeps) people together.

And once the challenge is complete, it is time for the next challenge: this year, the three trainees currently employed at MLT launched themselves straight into a new project: a Mercedes-Benz Vario, which is to be completely dismantled and rebuilt after around 15 years of road operation, including winter service, similar to the Unimog U 500.

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Unimog U 219 Puzzle (Croy)

The effects of the shortage of skilled workers in the commercial vehicle sector can also be acutely felt at an international level. Croy s.r.o, , the authorised importer for Unimog in the Czech Republic since 1992, is also increasing its efforts to promote young talent. The dealer for the sale and service of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles is currently building another location in Ostrava (Moravia). The foundation stone has been laid and construction work is progressing rapidly.

The service provider for special-purpose vehicles is aiming to present itself as a future employer and advertise for employees. To that end, the company embarked on a special passion project, and is working exactly where it is needed: at a vocational school. The pupils were given a new, disassembled Unimog U 219. Their task: to reassemble the Special Truck. It’s an ambitious project for which the budding young specialists also receive support from Croy experts. The pupils from the vocational school have the opportunity to gain valuable tips in interactive online training sessions. However, they have to manage the lion’s share of the task themselves. This is a demanding project that challenges every single one of those involved, but that also has a lasting impact.

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