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Which departments did you pass during you apprenticeship?
Overall I have visited six different departments during my apprenticeship. For a half year, while producing the annual accounts, I have been working in the Concern Balancing department. This exciting time was very instructive because I haven’t had any points of contact with balance sheets or group reports before.
Another practical phase I spent in the educational department, where I was responsible for the whole application process for business referring apprenticeships, especially for the application of the new trainees. I was able to gain experience in the whole process, beginning from the incoming of the application, over the test, to the Assessment Center. Furthermore I planned the starting week for all the new the trainees and students starting in September.
Overall there were new tasks and challenges in every department and I was able to get an overview of a lot of jobs and to choose a job or a department to suit me best.
What would you describe as the biggest challenge?
There have always been small challenges in daily business, but the toughest one definitely was the very first practical phase, when everything is still unknown. You don´t know the people, the building and the expecting tasks. My first department was the concern balancing, which is a pretty complex department. Before I never got in contact with that specific branch, so I needed to ask and learn a lot. But my department supported me and really took the time to explain everything, so I was able to cope with the subject. It´s always necessary to jump over one´s shadow. Even telephoning might be a challenge in the beginning, if you need to contact customers or colleagues from all around the world. But you get used to new situations and my colleagues in the department were always nice and supportive, so there is no reason to be nervous.
Please tell us about your highlight at Continental.
There actually have been many interesting and entertaining events. As my personal highlight I would definitely highlight the PLT and CVT annual event 2018 in Bonn in the old Lower House of Parliament (Bundestag). The location was beautiful and it was very interesting to get to know the different branches around PLT and CVT. The event was split into four different main areas: Customers, Digitalization, Organization and Brand. On the first day you were able to be informed about the topics by visiting “marketplaces” and the second day was all about debates between the four areas. In the end of the event you were able to vote for the area that seemed most important. Also the evening events were successful and special; they were great fun and I was able to meet new colleagues.
Is there anything you would like to recommend to new trainees?
The first thing I would like to recommend: Stay as you are! Do not try to put on an act, it could be too exhausting for a long time and also your colleagues will recognize. Of course you are nervous during the Assessment Center or at the first day at work, but that is totally normal. If there happen mistakes, just directly talk to your colleagues. Mistakes happen to each and everybody, the earlier your colleagues know them, the easier it is to remove them. In case you are getting a task that you just don´t understand, ask for help or to explain it a second time. Nobody is getting disturbed by explaining a task a second or even third time, only by asking you are able to learn. At Continental plenty of abbreviations are used frequently, even in the apprenticeship. I made myself a kind of dictionary “Conti-German”, to recognize all of them. Especially as a “newbie” it is so important to ask directly, if you do not get along with a specific word or abbreviation, otherwise the whole context might not make sense.