This post is also available in: French

My name is Claire Douet and I studied mechanical engineering with an Energy & Environment spezialisation at the INSA (School of Applied Science) in Lyon, France.

I joined Continental in October 2016 via the Graduate Trainee Program in Manufacturing. This intense program of 12 to 18-month includes a factory part (6 to 12 months), a 6-month rotation in Germany at Hanover headquarters, and a third part for the introduction of the Marketing & Sales strategies of the company.

My first stage of the program was in the plant of Sarreguemines where I worked for 5 months as a Process Engineer at the textile grille. This experience allowed me to acquaint myself with the specificities of the production of tires while contributing to the project of deployment of security elements on garment machines.

Then I headed to the headquarters in Hanover for the second stage. During this period I was able to contribute to three projects in Research & Development, Manufacturing and Business. The first concerned the implantation of sensors to prevent and/or contain aquaplaning. The second was to create an awareness campaign for employees about the different sounds of production machines to better detect and prevent breakdowns. The third was the impact that the creation of modular extrusion lines could have.

This experience was a great way to get to know people from all walks of life. I had the opportunity to work within a multicultural team. Many nationalities made up our group: Brazilian, Mexican, Chinese, Swiss, German, South African, Russian and French. This cultural richness first required an adjustment, then it allowed us to grow by learning about our differences. Naturally, we were interested in projects around diversity happening at the plant and were able to attend conferences and also the organization of ‘Diversity Day’ in Stöcken.

The third stage took place during a week in Compiègne, in the Marketing and Sales department, then for a second week at the Best Drive in Amiens. During this time I was able to take a step back and better understand the marketing strategy of Continental.

This unique and valuable experience has allowed me to greatly develop as a human and improve my technical skills. I really appreciate the work atmosphere, the missions that were entrusted to us, the investment of all the people around us, helping us to grow and learn, and the overall dynamics of the group.

I have been back in Sarreguemines since October 2017 where I took the position of Operational Manager in the Cold Preparation department. I am very happy about the job that has been assigned to me since it allows me to be in constant contact with the strong link of our factory: the journeyman.

What has struck me the most since my arrival at Continental are the actions taken for the well-being of employees. This is immensely notably in Sarreguemines, where the company has set up yoga sessions and massages. I am proud to work in a company that pays so much attention to people.

I encourage anyone interested in the Trainee Program to “go for it” because it is a fun, dynamic and challenging experience. It pushes you to go beyond what you thought you could achieve.

Thanks to Continental for this unique experience!

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