Michelle Gerloff and Christian Riemann, trainee material analysts, specialising in metal technology at BAM

Michelle Gerloff and Christian Riemann, trainee material analysts, specialising in metal technology at BAM

Source: BAM

What gave you the idea to become a material analyst?

Michelle: : I am very much interested in natural sciences. I made enquiries with the employment office and learned that the profession of material analyst includes at least a part of every natural science.

Christian: When I opted for dual training, I wanted to choose a job that suited my strengths and interests that are physics, mathematics and a little chemistry. In the application process I found that the profession of material analyst is more than the name suggests and is one of which I previously had little understanding under which I could hardly imagine anything. I chose BAM because it is an attractive training company and I found the theme of damage analysis very exciting. I have not regretted this decision to date.

What does a material tester do at BAM?

Christian: You can imagine training at BAM as a number of small internships. You usually change departments after one or two months, thus getting an insight into and knowledge of the profession’s many facets and beyond. I would consider a fully trained material analyst at BAM as the link between scientists and technicians since they must be familiar with theory and practice. Since BAM isn’t a factory, the daily workload is varied and often completely new due the large number of research areas.

Michelle: A lot! The field of application for a material analyst is rather diverse. We test materials using very different methods. Sometimes we destroy the materials in a tensile test for example, or we test them non-destructively, which can be done by X-ray or ultrasound.

Your training is based on the "dual system". What does that mean?

Beide: The dual vocational training binds the factory and the vocational school closely together. The vocational school cares about the facilitation of theoretical knowledge and factory teaches the practice.

Are many trainees learning the profession of material analyst?

Michelle: Not really, the profession is not that well known. In my vocational school there are eleven of us trainees from Berlin and Brandenburg, including two from BAM. Approximately one third of them are women.

Christian: Here in the vocational school, the classes are quite small and there is a very pleasant working environment. There are two trainees from BAM and seven from other companies in my vocational school class but no women.