On the 15th of April 1957, Werner Alker started his apprenticeship at the Volkswagen agent in Cologne. Under the guidance of a Mr. Damme, 250 apprentices started, but only 200 would remain after the first three months. Soon enough, they all found out that the first year would only consist of doing basic filing, the handling of a hammer and a chisel, welding, blacksmith work, and all the other basic skills required. Amazing!! All this, without even working on a real car in the first year!
Once their basic training was over, they were finally issued mechanic’s overalls, and were allowed to touch real cars. Every job had to be done in the factory-prescribed time or faster, but Werner’s never been one to “follow the herd”. He always wanted the most practical solution with the optimum result, and this didn’t always mean that factory- prescribed rules were followed. To start off with, Werner had to stand on 2 self-made platforms just to reach the vice. He was only 13 at the time and 1.57 m tall. It would take 3½ years to finish the apprenticeship, which meant Werner was qualified at the age of 17 to repair a car, but still too young to legally drive one. He has always been ahead of his time.
Being young and adventurous, he really wanted to go and experience what it would feel like to work in Africa, but the factory had other plans for him. First, they wanted him to learn English, and what […]