HANOVER, Germany, March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 1, eleven engineering and science graduates began the new year of the Explore Tires Research & Development trainee program at Continental's Tires division. The new trainees in tire research and development come from six different countries and, this year, women make up the majority. Six women and five men will work through different areas of R&D, production and marketing as part of the program. For years now, the international tire manufacturer has recorded a rising number of women among new recruits in research and development.
"Research and development, particularly in the motor industry, is often an exclusively man's world. In reality, things are very different today at Continental. Over the business year just ended, more than one third of the new appointments in tire development were women," remarks Geert Roik, head of Research & Development Commercial Vehicle Tires at Continental. "We have also noticed a growing number of women joining our international training program in tire research and development. In general, we do aim for a balanced ratio of male and female candidates for these programs. The course year that began on March 1 gives a clear sign with a more than fifty percent share of women. This shows the high standard of specialist qualifications among female candidates."
Continental is consciously backing the promotion and development of female talent with its personnel policy. One example is Franziska Neef who joined Continental's commercial vehicle tire world in 2002 after completing her integrated degree program in mechanical engineering: "I learned the tire trade from scratch and was able to take responsibility in several areas of commercial vehicle tire development following my integrated degree program.
At present, I am leading a team that develops new products and solutions for retreading commercial vehicle tires." The work of the 29-year-old engineer is in no way just plain theory: "The attraction of my job is that the development work for retreading is multilayered and is linked to other areas. For example, my team works closely with colleagues from new tire development to ensure that the casing, which is the heart of all tires, has a long life and can be retread several times." Franziska does not see any differences between women and men in tire research: "Here everyone performs in the same way and we are not assessed with two different standards. Also, discussions, for example, are a lot more interesting and varied due to the different approaches."
Continental's Tires division offers two different training programs in the areas of R&D and production. They are directed at graduates from the fields of mechanical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, and physics. About fifty trainees are recruited across the world each year and can join one of the two programs on various starting dates.
The Explore Tires Research & Development program is based at the Technology Center in Hanover Stocken and specifically targets international applicants. In addition to the projects in R&D in Hanover, each trainee also completes a project at one of the tire factories abroad.
The Explore Tires Manufacturing & Engineering program is staged at Continental's tire plants in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. The applicants from these regions spend the main part of the 24-month program at a tire factory in their home country. As part of a 6-month stay in Hanover, they also complete one or more projects at the global Technology Center and at the central manufacturing and engineering departments in Hanover Stocken.
You will find further information on the Continental Explore Tires trainee programs at www.careers-continental.com.
With sales of EUR 30.5 billion in 2011, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomer products, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has approximately 164,000 employees in 46 countries.
The Tire division includes the Passenger and Light Truck, the Commercial Vehicle Tire and the Industrial Tire business units, as well as the Two-Wheel Tire activities. As one of the world's leading tire manufacturers, with more than 41,000 employees, the division achieved cumulative sales of more than EUR 8.8 billion in 2011. Today, the Tire division has 22 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility.