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STIHL Inc. apprentice and TCC student named Trainee of the Year

Tidewater Community College mechatronics student A.J. Scherman, a STIHL Inc. apprentice, is the recipient of the German American Chamber of Commerce Award for Trainee of the Year.

The award recognizes outstanding individuals working for German subsidiaries who have demonstrated excellence in their workforce training programs. Scherman is enrolled in the four-year Mechatronics Technician apprentice program for STIHL Inc., in Virginia Beach.

The STIHL apprenticeship program is adapted from the German model of vocational training. In this “dual system,” trainees split their time between hands-on training and classroom education. Scherman was one of a handful of applicants among 300 offered a spot in the apprenticeship program.

He is currently working on a project in the STIHL Technical Training Center to upgrade and modify its Festo training simulators, which are used by certified Festo instructors for training the apprentices, engineers, mechatronics and maintenance technicians.

Scherman earned the award based on his dedication to working full time and attending college classes while supporting his family and maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.

“Mechatronics is the future of the manufacturing world and the gateway to where I ultimately want to end up – which is being an engineer,” Scherman said.

TCC offers registered apprenticeship training programs with local employers, including STIHL Inc., that last between one and six years during which time the apprentice is employed with the sponsored company. Participants earn a competitive wage in addition to an associate degree or a college career studies certificate along with industry-specific credentials.