“Conti, Human Resources Trainee Program Tires, 2013. Conti, Human Resources….”
I repeated those words to myself numerous times during the weeks before my new journey at Continental, but their true meaning did not sink in. Of course I was filled with excitement upon hearing that I would be a part of this program, there was no doubt about that! However I was quickly engulfed with all the preparations that I needed to make – applying for my work permit to stay in Germany, carrying out the routine joining formalities, as well as everything that moving to a different city entails. Luckily the trip from Bremen (where I had been studying) to Hannover is only one and a half hours by train. It was a hectic few weeks between the end of my internship and the beginning of my trainee program in August.
This transition phase aroused the curiosity of friends, family and even myself as there were questions I could not answer, due to the suspense and divulging of information on a ‘need to know’ basis. For instance, I was told that for the kick-off week I would need to have a sleeping bag handy. Where and when exactly I would be using the sleeping bag were things the other trainees and I were forced to wait to find out!
In the midst of my other preparations, I made sure to go through the information I received beforehand, especially the names and photos of the seven other trainees, hoping that I would not have difficulty remembering names when I actually met them. They were Kaela from Mount Vernon, Marcela from San Luis Potosi, Xede from Camacari, Simona from Otrokovice, Arnaud from Sarreguemines, Jing from Hefei and Chen from Shanghai.
When I arrived at the meeting point on an unusually sunny afternoon, I was greeted by commotion – the other trainees were having their first encounter with people celebrating a German bachelor party on the street – one of the many interesting traditions here which I still find amusing! It did not take long however to quickly meet everyone, including our team leaders – Lars, the head of HRD Tires; Jing Bian, the HRD Project Manager; and Mihaela Bobaru, a former trainee from the 2011 pool. We were ready for the long bus ride which would take us to our location for the first part of our orientation week.
Our first “challenge” so to speak was to shop for items that we would need for the first couple of days of our stay (we were still not really sure where we were going), within strict time and budget pressures. Our training was already under way!
Finally we arrived one and a half hours later at our destination – Northeim – and were pleasantly surprised by two rows of tents set up at a camping site (complete with comfy air mattresses). We were introduced to two “guides” Florian and Mark who helped us survive (literally!) over the next couple of days. You can read more details about this event in the blog post of my new colleague Arnaud and my next posts!
If you want to know more about the trainee programs of Continental please visit our career homepage.