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UEAPME’s Ludger Fischer swaps his keyboard for a paintbrush... for a week

31 August 2006

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UEAPME staff member and UNIEP Secretary General Ludger Fischer spent a week as an apprentice in a small painting business in Hamburg, Germany.

Fischer’s placement anticipates a recent initiative by the European Commission’s DG Enterprise, by which 350 civil servants will spend a week as interns or apprentices in European SMEs.

According to UEAPME, which was involved in the programme since a pilot project took place in 2005, “Enterprise Experience” will be an excellent opportunity for EU officials to get a better understanding of the business realities they work on.

“I wanted to lead the way with a good example”, said Fischer, who can now base his everyday work on practical experience. “We have very good contacts with the European institutions, but knowledge of the enterprises we represent is equally important.”

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A painting apprenticeship in Germany may last up to three years. One cannot expect too much from a one-week experiment, but Fischer says it was important for him to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a typical small business in the painting sector.

Even though he only swapped his computer keyboard for a paintbrush for a week, many people are now expecting more practical work from Fischer in the future. “My colleagues already mentioned that they could take advantage of my freshly acquired skills. I’ll do my best.”