15 years after tsunami: Over 100 young Indians successfully training for the future every year

View of the classroom: This year, the Freudenberg Training Center in Nagapattinam celebrates its ten-year anniversary.

Weinheim, Germany, December 19, 2019: After the tsunami on December 26, 2004 in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu, the Freudenberg Group wanted to do more than just help with rebuilding. The company launched a long-term local aid project. This year, the Freudenberg Training Center (FTC) celebrates its ten-year anniversary. It offers dual training courses to young people, giving them the opportunity to qualify for a profession help shape both their own future and that of their country.

At 9 AM local time on December 26, 2004, the Indian Plate was thrust beneath the Burma Plate off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The resulting earthquake lasted for a minute and a half, and at 9.1 on the Richter scale was one of the longest and most violent ever recorded, resulting in a massive displacement of water. The ensuing tsunami claimed 250,000 lives around the entire Indian Ocean, from Thailand to Somalia. India’s Tamil Nadu province was directly in the path of the wave and the coastal region of Nagapattinam was hit hardest. 

The images of destruction etched themselves into the minds of people around the world and inspired a massive aid campaign. With ties on the subcontinent that stretch back over 150 years, Freudenberg employees and management decoded to help with the relief efforts. Freudenberg’s goal is providing help, where it is needed. After all, success for Freudenberg means financial success, while also fulfilling our responsibility for society. 

The idea for the FTC in Nagapattinam came about against this backdrop. The concept is to provide young people with the skills they need for a profession while also helping to improve India’s economic infrastructure. Each year, some 120 students graduate from the center and help meet the urgent demand for skilled workers in the Chennai region. The FTC’s 14 trainers teach their students to become mechanics, welders, machinists, fitters and electricians. 

The young people receive both theoretical and practical training in line with the German dual vocational training system. The training program has been a huge success and is approved by the National Council for Vocational Training, with its strict standards and wide recognition throughout India. Georg Graf, Regional Representative for the Freudenberg Group in India says: "Skill development is an essential part of the drive to improve India's socio-economic infrastructure.” When closing the critical gap between manpower availability and employability, it is important to create long-term career opportunities.

More than 700 young people have been given a successful start in their professions. Most of them have been successfully placed in various well-known organizations in and around Chennai. The automotive industry is happy to hire trainees from Nagapattinam. Trainees at the FTC are improving both their prospects for the future and those of the entire region.