The Movie is about a withdrawn twenty-year-old man named Jan. He is in his last year of training at a medium-sized company. In spite of his efforts to please everybody, he finds himself caught between conflicting demands as a result of the firm’s need to restructure.
His mother, a committed shop steward, works for the same company. She cannot prevent the company from employing an increasing number of temporary workers – which means that there is no guarantee that Jan will have a job when his training period ends. His mother’s union activities mean that she is increasingly subjected to pressure from the firm’s management.
Jan tries hard to please the head of human resources Tobias, who cannot promise him a job because Jan’s department isn’t performing well enough. Pretending that he wants to help Jan’s supervisor, Susanne, Tobias asks Jan to keep an eye on Susanne. Jan does his bidding – without considering the far-reaching effects this might have. When Jenny, a young temp, starts working at the company, she and Jan embark on a tender romance – but their love is overshadowed by the insecurity that pervades their workplace.
All these different demands place Jan under more and more pressure; to compensate, he lets off steam by driving like a maniac and going on pointless shopping sprees. Only when his mother is to be laid off on a pretext does Jan slowly begin to realise the consequences of his own actions. Die Ausbildung tells the story of a young professional starting out in life. Jan is apolitical; he decides to adapt and follow the path of consumerism rather than that of resistance.
Die Ausbildung is a coming-of-age story about the economics of human relations, with a protagonist that embodies current social trends.