Nicole Heinrich’s last parents’ night included snacks and candles in a group circle. But the information session wasn’t for parents of ninth-graders and Ms. Heinrich isn’t a teacher. She leads the training and human-resources marketing department at Otto, a German mail order company, and organized this evening at the company headquarters in Hamburg to convince parents of the value of an apprenticeship for their child.
Otto is the largest mail-order company in Europe with annual revenues of €12 billion ($15 billion), 60 percent of which comes from online sales. The group has more than 50,000 employees worldwide. It is, however, seeing a decline in applicants for its vocational training programs.
“Parents are important sparring partners,” said Ms. Heinrich. It is not just Otto that has recognized this. It is becoming a trend across Germany, with more and more companies directly interacting with parents of potential apprentices.