Apprenticeships at Fraunhofer IOF

Excellent apprenticeship at Fraunhofer IOF

Award for Josefine Canis and Antje Oelschläger 


Josefine Canis completed her apprenticeship as a physics laboratory assistant at Fraunhofer IOF as the top apprentice in the state of Thuringia. She was recently honored for this achievement by the Industrie- und Handelskammer Ostthüringen (IHK, engl.: Chamber of Industry and Commerce of eastern Thuringia). The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft also honored her and other outstanding graduates at a virtual ceremony in early November. Antje Oelschläger, who was in charge of the vocational education of Canis, was also honored for her excellent performance as supervisor.

As so often these days, it was a ceremony with neither handshakes nor group photos. Nevertheless, there were plenty of beaming faces and heartfelt congratulations at the virtual ceremony for "honoring the best": On November 4, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft had invited its best apprentices of the year to the annual award ceremony. Traditionally, apprentices in initial training who have completed their final exams with an excellent grade or who are among the best in their chambers of commerce, their federal states or in Germany are honored.

Josefine Canis honored as best in the state of Thuringia by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and IHK of eastern Thuringia

This year, the award went to a total of 21 trainees. Among them was Fraunhofer IOF trainee Josefine Canis, who graduated with top grades and was the best in Thuringia. She completed an apprenticeship as a physics laboratory assistant at the Fraunhofer Institute in Jena and graduated with the grade "very good". The virtual congratulations were delivered from the headquarters in Munich by Elisabeth Ewen, head of the Human Resources Department of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Ewen was impressed by the trainees' commitment and expressed her appreciation for them as a "part of the Fraunhofer family". Josefine Canis was also honored for her performance as the best in the Free State of Thuringia at another ceremony on November 12, this time hosted by the Industrie- und Handelskammer Ostthüringen.

It was actually by chance that Canis became aware of the opportunity to train at the research institute. A happy coincidence, as she says in retrospect: "What I particularly liked was that I was able to rotate through all the scientific departments of the institute during my training. I and the other trainees here are really lucky in this respect that we all have the opportunity to see a lot, get a taste of everything, and take an active part in the departments!"

Presentation of the certificate and the trophy
© Fraunhofer IOF
Institute director Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann presented the certificate and the trophy for the "Honor of the Best" to Fraunhofer IOF trainee Josefine Canis on behalf of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Antje Oelschläger honored as instructor for excellent mentoring

Instructor Antje Oelschläger also emphasizes the multifaceted nature of the training at Fraunhofer IOF: "Our trainees rotate through all the specialist departments and come into contact with the latest measuring techniques and working methods here," she explains. "They are real all-rounders in the profession, which is why they have numerous job prospects. That's what makes it so appealing!"

Above all, good supervision is needed in order to find and promote true all-round talents. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft was convinced that Antje Oelschläger and her team in the specialist departments offer exactly that - and awarded Oelschläger a prize for her excellent support as an instructor together with Canis on November 4. The employee in the department of micro- and nanostructured optics at the institute had already been honored with this award several times before. 

Instructor and trainee at the digital award ceremony.
© Fraunhofer IOF
She was honored for her excellent support of trainees: Fraunhofer IOF employee Antje Oelschläger (front in picture) - here together with Josefine Canis at the digital "Honoring the Best" by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in early November.

Training and career at Fraunhofer IOF

The strong commitment of the department for personnel development and training and the institute's management in particular contribute to maintaining the high level of training at Fraunhofer IOF, emphasizes Oelschläger. "It is important to us that Fraunhofer IOF is not only perceived as an address for academic training," adds Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann, director of Fraunhofer IOF. "As a training provider, we offer opportunities for apprenticeships in the fields of industrial mechanics, precision optics, and for physics laboratory assistants. We provide young people a varied and instructive training program and want to enthuse them to work with light. After all, developing innovative technologies of the future requires first and foremost technical expertise, but also a pinch of passion and plenty of team spirit - and that is essential at all levels of the institute."

Josefine Canis intends to continue to take an active part at the Fraunhofer Institute in Jena in the future: After graduation, she is now starting a position as a laboratory assistant in the "Precision Optical Components and Systems" department. In order to continue her education in the future, she also began studying part-time in October in addition to her job to become a "sector specialist in optics" at the Industrie- und Handelskammer.

Structure of the professional training as a physical laboratory technician


Since 2000, Fraunhofer IOF has been training committed young people to become physical laboratory technicians, thus enabling them to embark on a professional career in science.


Structure of the training

During the 3.5-year training (which can also be shortened to 3 years under certain conditions), trainees rotate through three different areas of training.

The dual education system for physical laboratory scientists generally consists of two core elements:

  • On the one hand, the trainees gain excellent practical experience during their training at our institute and
  • on the other hand, they receive professional education in an intensive course at their professional school.

Fraunhofer IOF is strongly committed to its trainees and enables them to attend an external educational center in Jena in addition to the two core elements. The trainees receive additional valuable basic vocational training there. Fraunhofer IOF has been working successfully with this external training center for many years.


What is special about the training at Fraunhofer IOF

The high-quality training at our institute offers the future physical laboratory technicians experience in dealing with state-of-the-art measurement methods, innovative technology, the working methods in research as well as the special opportunity to rotate through all departments at Fraunhofer IOF during their training and to work on projects. Thus, our future physical laboratory technicians become real all-rounders in the laboratories and can work everywhere.

It is particularly worth mentioning that our trainees can choose one of our specialist departments in which to complete their last six months of training. This time is intended to serve as intensive preparation for their final examination, which takes place at our institute. They get to know their chosen department more intensively, work independently on equipment and measurement technology, and contribute their acquired knowledge and skills to various project teams. This gives the trainees the opportunity to test how much they enjoy these tasks and whether they can imagine working in their chosen department in the long term after their training.


We are particularly pleased that the majority of our trained physical laboratory technicians remain with our institute after successfully completing their training and we can continue to work together on exciting tasks.