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From November 19 to 30, 2018, Miguel and Martin from France spent a two-weeks internship at the training center in Hanover-Stöcken (Germany). Martin was born in Toulose and is 28 years old. Migueal is 29 years old, was born in Equator-Eugenie and moved to France seven years ago to follow his professional plans.
They both are part of the “Experiencing Europe” program, during which young people complete two consecutive internships in different European countries. This offers them the opportunity to gain additional experience abroad and to experience the common values of European integration first-hand. In an interview with Kristin Boland-Haack and Annika Tetzlaff, the two interns spoke about their experience in Hanover-Stöcken and their future plans.
Miguel, Martin, how did you learn about the Experiencing Europe program?
Miguel: Both Martin and I visit the “Second Chance School” in Toulouse. The school has a partnership with Continental. Our colleague Yoan contacted us. He works for the automotive plant in Toulouse and had been to Hanover-Stöcken before, as part of the HR trainee program.
Martin: “Second Chance School” supports us to reconsider our profession by providing us with a pathway to employment, combining professional and social support. We study and complete various traineeships. Each student is individually guided by a coach throughout the training program.
How did it happen that you chose the Continental location in Hanover-Stöcken?
Martin: Before we came here we were supposed to go to a Continental location in Frankfurt. But then Yoan said it is better to come to Hanover-Stöcken – the heart and brain of Continental, when it comes to tires.
What have been your first experiences in Hanover?
Martin: We were lost (laughing)! The first day of our internship the tram was broken, so we had to take a bus – but in the end we made it to Hanover-Stöcken.
Miguel: And then we started right away: We spent the first week in electromechanics. Right on the first day we created a machine, connecting cables systematically. In the second week we designed various pieces of metal.
What did you learn in the past two weeks? Do you have more concrete idea of your future?
Miguel: On a personal basis, I learned that the city of Hanover is really nice, and that Continental is really a big and welcoming company. Professionally, it was the first time for me entering such a big location. My main professional project is to be a machine operator. In Conti Machinery I saw how they manufacture molds – that’s what I want to do, too.
Martin: Right, we learned a lot about electricity and metal. What is clear to me now is that I want to become a mechanic. Still I haven’t found a place, but once I’m back in France I will start applying. Next to the professional path, I also experienced how it is to live like an alien in a city. The people in Hanover seem to be a little colder than in the south of France. What I really liked, however, is that they are more organized, especially in the metro. In the morning the tram was calm and quiet – right the opposite to our city.
Do you have a final message for the team?
Martin: I really want to thank Yoan, Annika and the training center team for the opportunity they gave us. I have already been to Spain, Italy and Germany, but never for work before, so it was very interesting.
Miguel: It was a perfect experience. We were excited to be here. Yoan was telling us that we want to be where everything started at Continental – and that’s what we have seen in Stöcken.
About the training center: The Training Centre for technical apprenticeship trades has been based in Hanover-Stöcken since 1997. This year, 114 young talents have started their apprenticeships at the training center. 48 work in the commercial-technical area, the others are commercial apprentices and dual students. 4 young colleagues come from the EQ Refugees program and three are based with the integration project from ContiTech.
Henning Kautz, Head of the Training Centre, highlights: „I consider these types of exchanges extremely important in these times. The younger generation must learn about all liberties in Europe. It is so great to be able to travel without borders. These are achievements that all people should be aware of”.