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Case Study
Vocational training as office management assistant at Cölner Hofbräu P. Josef Früh KG


The owner-managed company Cölner Hofbräu P. Josef Früh KG employs 500 people from over 30 nations, which at the same time reflect the composition of the customer base and illustrate the importance of diversity for the company. In addition to the core business of the brewery, the company has also established itself in the fields of gastronomy, hotel business and beverage logistics. Part of the special commitment and corporate philosophy is also the topic of inclusion and the vocational training and employment of people with disabilities - for which the company was awarded the title of 'Opportunity Provider of the Year 2014' by the IHK Foundation for Vocational Training and Skilled Workforce Retention. For example, the company is training a young person in a wheelchair to become a commercial clerk for office management.

Comment by the HR manager on inclusion:

Not everything went perfectly from the start and there were also difficulties along the way. For example, after a positive start in the internships, there were initially strong fluctuations in performance in the vocational training, which were difficult for us to explain. After discussions with the trainee and the mother, no reason could be found. On our advice, the young person visited a medical doctor and he determined that treatment was necessary due to the illness. After the treatment, the young person is feeling better and is now working more concentrated again. In the context of vocational training, the young person does not receive any special treatment because we know what he is actually capable of and disability-related aspects are compensated for by appropriate measures.

Disability and impairment of the young person:

The young person is severely disabled due to an early childhood illness and is predominantly dependent on the use of a wheelchair. Due to his disability, his mobility is limited, although he can still stand for a short period of time and walk very short distances.
Privately, the young person uses a handbike for sporting activities, with which he has already taken part in marathon events.

Training and job:

After finishing secondary school, the young person successfully attended a commercial college. During his time at school, he already completed an internship and subsequently further internships at his current training company. Contact with the company was made through personal contacts. After leaving commercial college and completing his last internship, the young man applied to the company for vocational training as an office management assistant. The young person was invited to an interview and received the training contract.

Workplace and work task:

During the vocational training, the trainee gets to know the different tasks of the departments in the administration and is thus taught the required practical or company training content. The trainee works mainly at a computer workstation with a height-adjustable desk, which can also be moved underneath with a wheelchair, together with a colleague and the trainer in an office on the second floor of the administration building. Most of the time, the trainee does not drive under his work table with his wheelchair in order to work on it. Instead, he mainly parks his wheelchair nearby and sits on an ergonomic office chair at the work table (Fig. 1).
As usual, vocational training also includes attending vocational school - this takes place in blocks of several weeks at a time.

Trainee's comment:

I enjoy the training and feel comfortable in the company.

Working environment - mobility:

The trainee is driven by a transport service in a wheelchair to the administration building and to the vocational school during block teaching. The administration building and the vocational school are designed to be barrier-free. The access area to the administration building is at ground level and can be accessed by the trainee in his wheelchair via a door that can be opened by electric motor and motion detector. The door then closes again automatically after a certain time. The apprentice reaches his workplace via a passenger elevator that is satisfactory in size and whose buttons are arranged in such a way that they can be operated from a wheelchair while seated.
In the vocational school, the respective classrooms are located at ground level so that the apprentice can reach them without difficulty using a wheelchair.
The company's administration building and the vocational school have a barrier-free WC (washbasin, toilet, support handles, etc.) for people with disabilities. In the vocational school, the WC is also at ground level and in the company, the young person can reach this or the floor in question using the lift. In the company, depending on the task, the trainee may be directly on the floor with the WC, so that he or she does not always need the lift. In the event of an emergency, the WC in the company has a personal emergency call system with which help can be called.

Occupational safety:

In the event of a fire, the use of the lift in the company's administration building is prohibited for reasons of assurance. Employees must then use the stairwell, according to the escape plan or escape route. To evacuate the severely mobility-impaired trainee in the wheelchair via the stairwell, a so-called evacuation chair is therefore used, which is provided on the first and second floors directly at the entrance to the stairwell (Fig. 2). The collapsible evacuation chair with sliding straps enables a colleague as a rescue partner to evacuate the trainee quickly via the stairwell in the event of an emergency within the framework of a predefined rescue plan. To this end, the company instructed the trainee to find colleagues for the evacuation chair training for himself or herself - for better team building. Numerous colleagues came forward, who were trained accordingly by the aid provider together with the trainee in fire safety exercises to use the evacuation chair correctly. Where the young person is located is known to the respective rescue partner and is also indicated on a sign in the reception area (Fig. 3).

Assistive products used:

Further Information

and participation:
Promotion is not a priority for the company when it comes to the inclusion of people with disabilities. However, a design suitable for disabled people was required to ensure accessibility, mobility and occupational safety for the trainee in the wheelchair. For this reason, for example, the evacuation chair required for this purpose was sponsored by the employment agency, as part of the trainee's new employment. The employment agency also supports the vocational training with corresponding subsidies and the reaching of the workplace with the help of a driving service.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 31 Jul 2023