When it comes to picking your higher education, it’s natural for questions to run through your mind. Is a practical apprenticeship right for me? Should I consider a theoretical course? How long will it take to get a job afterwards?
It’s time to find out. We speak to three young talents who give the lowdown on what it’s like to study with Siemens. The apprentices and dual course students tell us about building racing cars in their spare time, why they’ve become pros at packing and why their work doesn’t keep them from partying...
Frederik studies electrical engineering in Stuttgart, Germany, and is also a part of the Formula Student Germany program (FSG) in Hockenheim, which is supported by Siemens. He likes to spend time planning and building racing cars.
What was your childhood dream?
I always wanted to be a police officer. But somehow I realized that my childhood fantasy deviates somewhat from reality. Then I went through a bit of an indecisive phase. I was offered a place at a vocational high school with a course for electrical engineering – it’s where I discovered my passion.
What’s the Formula Student Program?
It’s a university project and we get support from Siemens, such as a software for fault modulation or the components we need. We have just finished building our electric racing car and now it’s about bringing it to events. We’ll introduce it in Spain and Italy. We’ll race at the Hockenheimring motor racing circuit, where we’ll compete with apprentices and communities from other universities. We’ll see how fast the car can drive, how far it goes, and we’ll also compare theoretical aspects such as business plans.
How did you end up with this project?
By accident, to be honest. The IT department had had some issues and I volunteered to help out. How would you describe your collaborative work? We have a great network. When the worst comes to the worst, someone is always there. The alumni help by giving useful tips and making sure that everything is possible. There’s a huge team of people who share the same interest – that’s something truly special.
What do you do in your free time?
The Formula Student Program has become a hobby for me. It keeps me busy after I finish uni for the day, and it sometimes involves weekend work as well. It’s also a lot of fun though.
What surprised you most about Siemens?
At the beginning you might think, “Siemens, of course; it’s almost everywhere.” You can find the logo on refrigerators and on your coffee machine. But if you take a closer look, you’ll discover that Siemens plays an important role not only in the household, but also on the street, at the traffic lights, in the distribution boxes. Siemens is really everywhere. There’s so much going on behind the surface of the company. We create so much; things you wouldn’t think about in everyday life because you see them as a matter of course.
Carolin is studying a business administration Bachelor’s degree, while taking on a practical apprenticeship as an industrial salesperson. She has worked and studied in Hamburg and Berlin and will soon travel to Canada as part of her apprenticeship.
You switch between your theoretical degree and your practical apprenticeship, and move from city to city. How do you like your juggling act?
I think it’s great, but it’s not for everyone. When I tell my friends at home about my life, they either say, “Oh great, you have so much going on around you and you always get to learn new things!” or they say, “You’re constantly stressed and surely nowhere can truly feel like home?” I’m not from Hamburg or Berlin and to arrive in two new cities and find new friends wasn’t easy. But, I can now call both places home – and who knows, Canada may be next in line. I’m very excited!
For how long are you in Canada – and what are you doing there?
For 10 weeks of work and a week of holiday. In the sales organization at Siemens, the program includes learning at a production location. We could choose from a long list of locations, but as I wanted to brush up on my French, Canada seemed an ideal choice. I have a job in power management – I’m in the unit that takes care of energy distribution and supply. I honestly don’t know exactly where I’m going to be working, but that doesn’t even matter to me.
What do you expect from this exciting trip to the other side of the world?
I’m looking forward to new personal experiences, getting to know a bunch of interesting new people and settling in nicely, even if it will be just short-term. I’m also keen to find out more about the working processes, gain professional knowledge and brush up on my French. I will definitely use the weekends to go on trips so I can see as much as possible of the country.
How does Siemens prepare you for the move?
The travel agency at Siemens in the Global Mobility department completely took care of the work permit and organized my travel. However, I also did a lot of things independently. I found great accommodation and will live in a big house with many others. I’m also happy I’ll get to know other people outside of work.
In Berlin, you lived with other students in a house share. How did that work out?
You just need to confirm six weeks before your move to Berlin that you’re coming and you’ll be given a one-room apartment in a big, shared house. At the beginning almost everyone lived in this house.
What have you learnt by travelling so much for work?
You should not own too many things. I think I’ll never have trouble going on vacation again. I’ve become a pro at packing.
Michèle is an apprentice for industrial mechanics based in central Germany. For her, no other profession was ever an option; whenever her father had to repair something in the house, she’d help him – even when she was as young as six.
How did you get the idea to get an apprenticeship at Siemens?
It was always clear to me that I would strive to have a technical career one day. From the 8th grade onwards I did internships in a number of industrial trades, including Siemens (even back then I liked it here). In addition, you have a great chance to climb up the career ladder.
Do you get on well with the other apprentices?
Great: not only with the apprentices of the first year, but I am also very close with the apprentices from higher grades. We spend so much time together and I get to know new people almost every day.
What do you do in your free time?
I must confess I am a bit of a party girl; we often go out together, but we’ll also just have a coffee together after work. We are almost a family.
What’s your advice for future trainees?
I’d recommend this path to everyone who is interested in this field and would especially encourage young women. I’m in a very good place here in Rudolstadt. My work is a lot of fun and my relationship to my colleagues is very informal and close.
Siemens offers apprenticeships and learning programs in different sectors in 14 countries and more than 40 locations around the globe. These include practical courses, science-based apprenticeships, and dual study programs, which run alongside various universities. Siemens is currently training around 10,000 school graduates in the future-oriented industries of electronics, IT, metal and technology.
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