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  • Dear Readers!

    There is good cause for celebration! 30 years of a unified Germany. Or perhaps we should say: ‘30 years of working on a unified Germany’? Seen from a historical perspective, it is certainly true to say that the reunification process has not yet been completed. In fact, looking at Germany’s history, you might well be excused for thinking that this process will never be completed. Each individual region has its own cultural peculiarities, its own dialect, its own sensibilities, its own breed of people. And, of course, their traditional dishes are worlds apart from each other. But that’s the way it should be as it is the differences that create a strong dynamic for change and enrich our culture and economy. Having said all that, we are still quite a young nation. Germany really hasn’t been around that long. Our country – as a federation of states – did not come into being until almost 100 years after the United States of America was founded. And we are all well aware that they are still working hard on unifying their nation.

    We are very grateful that our family-run business has been able to play a constructive role in shaping the reunification process from the start. While criticism continues to be directed towards the Treuhand (the agency responsible for privatising the former East German enterprises) for the way it acted – its focus was often on processing rather than developing – our aim has always been on finding robust, future-oriented solutions by working closely on the ground with the different city and regional authorities. The results speak for themselves – whether it be in the Lausitz region where our public private joint venture WAL Betrieb provides water management services and has kept fees and charges stable and jobs secure for decades now despite the region’s declining population; or in Schwerin, where the public private partnership between the city and REMONDIS has been hugely successful at delivering key services cost effectively. And these are just two examples of many. It was – and continues to be – the amazing personal dedication of the company’s employees in the regions that made it possible for REMONDIS to become a local east German family-run business in these new areas after the wall fell. What’s more, some of the family moved from the Westphalian town of Selm to make their home in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – but this just as a side note. Unity requires active commitment, as does sustainable development. REMONDIS is dedicated to both, always working with the future in mind.

    One thing is certain: there are a lot of things still – or once again – to be done. The recession brought on by Covid-19 is having a dramatic impact on the finances of local authorities. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the cities and districts faced a shortfall of 9.7 billion euros in the first six months of this year. As a comparison: the deficit amounted to just 0.3 billion euros a year ago. The reason for this negative trend was the drastic fall in revenue received by local governments in the second quarter of 2020. The German economy nosedived by 9.7% between April and June – the first time it has ever had to face such a huge drop. Yet another reason then for thinking about how the pressure can be taken off local governments in the future. They don’t have to do everything by themselves – the private sector is happy to help. Public private partnerships are a robust solution for delivering cost-intensive essential services, such as waste management and water management tasks. I and Professor Michael Schäfer, retired professor of public sector economics at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, illustrate this very clearly with the help of many examples in one of the books we co-authored – and we don’t forget to mention the negative examples either. As everyone knows, people learn from their mistakes so they can do a better job in the future. And this is precisely what we are doing together with our friends and partners in the not so new states in the east of Germany, in Europe and across the world.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!


    Ludger Rethmann

A get-together – with social distancing

  • The traditional party, held under the patronage of the honorary chairman of the supervisory board, Norbert Rethmann, and organised to welcome REMONDIS’ new apprentices, was a smaller affair this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 27 young people from a variety of apprenticeship courses were invited to attend the event in the foyer of REMONDIS’ head office building in Lünen to welcome them to the company – with appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures maintained at all times.

Essential services

Things are not easy at the moment with the coronavirus pandemic causing the German economy to shrink by between 5.6% and 10%. Indeed, there has been nothing like it since the Second World War. The impact has been massive on many industries, especially on sectors that depend on people getting together – such as tourism, transport services (local, regional and national) and aircraft construction as well as all those involved in organising cultural and sports events. In contrast, sectors delivering essential services, i.e. services that must be provided to keep public life running smoothly, have officially been given ‘key worker’ status by the German government. These include the health care sector as well as the recycling industry and, consequently, REMONDIS as one of the leading companies providing recycling and water management services to its municipal, commercial and industrial customers.

REMONDIS continues its apprenticeship programme as before

    • You just need to take a look at the way the German economy has developed since the second quarter of this year, when the pandemic first hit the country, to know that it could not be taken for granted that companies would continue offering apprenticeship courses. Expecting to face a deep recession, many companies – both large and small – have held back planned investments, furloughed their staff and frozen or even reduced the number of apprentices on their payroll. REMONDIS and its sister companies Rhenus and SARIA have braced themselves against this trend and steadfastly continued to train young people – an important cornerstone in their strategy to counteract skills shortages and ensure their industries have a sustainable future.

    • Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the REMONDIS Group, welcoming this year’s intake of apprentices to the company

  • apprentices are currently learning a profession at the RETHMANN Group

Additional courses mean additional skills

  • Training young talent is, REMONDIS believes, one of the most promising ways of achieving this. All in all, REMONDIS offers apprenticeship courses in over 30 commercial and industrial/technical professions. These young people are taught additional skills on top of the standard content of their courses. In 2019, for example, the company began a campaign to teach apprentices about the potential risks they may face during their everyday work. Speakers and specialists travelled to 15 different company locations to hold workshops and raise awareness about health and safety in the workplace. Both the fact that REMONDIS has been presented with numerous apprenticeship awards over the years and that its apprentices have won many different competitions are a clear sign that it offers high quality courses. LWG Lausitzer Wasser, a collaboration between the City of Cottbus and REMONDIS Aqua, for example, has trained ‘Germany’s best plant mechanic apprentice’ on seven different occasions. There was also a big success at the German Championship for Industrial Insulators in 2019: the winner of the competition was an apprentice from XERVON for the third year running.

This year’s apprenticeship figures portray a very positive picture

Looking at the RETHMANN firms and associated companies excluding Transdev (public transport), then a total of 2,100 young people are currently doing an apprenticeship within the Group, 590 of whom began their course at the beginning of this apprenticeship year on 01 August. If Transdev, the Group’s newest associated company, is added to these figures then this number rises to 2,194 apprentices. Unlike many other medium-sized businesses, therefore, REMONDIS is continuing to pursue its robust apprenticeship programme.

To find out more about apprenticeships at REMONDIS go to remondis-karriere.de/en

REMONDIS, the company in the family-run Group with the longest history, offers the most apprenticeship jobs: a total of 1,273 people are learning a profession there, 406 of whom began this August. Its sister company Rhenus currently employs 748 apprentices (166 newcomers in 2020). SARIA SE & CO. KG, an international company based in Selm, has 79 young people at its firm doing an apprenticeship, 18 of whom started this year.

Excellent chances of securing a job

RETHMANN owns a 34% share in the French Transdev Group, one of the world’s biggest providers of public transport services. 94 apprentices started an apprenticeship at a Transdev business in Germany this year. And they all have excellent chances of being taken on at the end of their course as most of the services that the REMONDIS Group offer are essential, even when the economy is going through a difficult period. So the only question that remains is what professions these young people are most interested in. The trend seen in past years continues unchanged at REMONDIS this year as well. Once again, the truck driver apprenticeship course attracted the biggest group of newcomers (337 apprentices), followed by those wishing to become industrial management assistants (175 apprentices) and office management assistants (94 apprentices). Courses for future chemical technicians, mechatronics engineers and other technical professions also proved to be popular.

Sustainability a core business

  • REMONDIS’ core business focuses on delivering a wide range of essential services covering the fields of recycling, municipal and industrial services and water management. This means that, even during the Covid crisis, the company can continue to offer apprenticeships with strong career prospects in the future-proof sectors: sustainability, climate action and resource conservation. Many of REMONDIS’ divisions have already begun accepting applications for next year’s courses. Those interested can apply online. They can also take part in a self-assessment test on the company’s careers website, remondis-karriere.de, to discover which types of job best suit their qualifications and potential. What’s more, REMONDIS can also be found on Instagram where it presents its apprenticeship and degree courses and provides an insight into a variety of professions. Life will continue after Covid and a good apprenticeship is the best way to carve out a positive future.

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