Volkswagen Chattanooga Graduate Receives Best Apprentice Award in Germany

Chattanooga, Tenn — Caleb Higginbotham, a Volkswagen Academy Mechatronics Program graduate, recently returned from Germany where he accepted a Best Apprentice Award with dozens of colleagues from similar programs around the world.

Higginbotham is the first Volkswagen Academy graduate to receive this award, which is in its 43rd year.

“I was motivated and focused to do my best because I was working before I entered the Volkswagen Apprentice program and knew what was out there, and how hard it is to find a well-paying job without the proper skills or education,” Higginbotham said.

In recognition of their achievements, the award-winners were invited to Germany and participated in a multi-faceted program for four days. The graduates toured the Wolfsburg plant, the Autostadt and took part in Lean Center training.

“Congratulations to Caleb for his achievements,” said Sebastian Patta, EVP Human Resources, Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We are very proud of the Volkswagen Academy, and his award shows that our young apprenticeship programs stand shoulder to shoulder with other, more mature programs around the globe. Here at Volkswagen Chattanooga we develop a skilled workforce in the community and create a lasting impact on the economy,” Patta said.

The awards were presented by the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, the Member of the Board of Management responsible for Human Resources, Organization and IT, Dr. Horst Neumann, and the President of the Global Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh.

During his stay in Germany, Caleb also took the opportunity to venture out into Europe. He spent time in Berlin and also visited Prague, Czech Republic.

“The training I received from the Volkswagen Apprentice Program has opened up opportunities for me professionally, and now traveling to Wolfsburg to accept this award has also opened up cultural experiences,” Higginbotham said.

About Volkswagen Chattanooga

The Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations, LLC (Volkswagen Chattanooga) manufacturing facility began production in April 2011 and currently builds the all-new Passat sedan, specifically designed for the North American market and winner of the 2012 Motor Trend Magazine Car of the Year award.  In July of 2014, it was announced that Volkswagen Chattanooga would build a new midsize sport utility vehicle and add 2,000 jobs to the 2,400 already at the plant. Volkswagen also announced the establishment of the Nationals Research & Development and Planning Center in Chattanooga. Volkswagen Chattanooga is the first and still only car factory worldwide with a LEED Platinum certification. It is also certified to international standards for energy management (ISO 50001), environmental management (ISO 14001) and quality management (ISO 9001).