Maike Schulz
Maike Schulz

Apprenticeship as an Industrial Business
Management Assistant
thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG


What brought you to thyssenkrupp Steel Europe?

I took the initiative and was rewarded with an apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. I’d done a four week foreign work placement offered by an organization called the “Alfred Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation” and that opened the door to a scholarship in England. Apart from bringing on my knowledge of foreign languages it was a wonderful opportunity to understand the structure of a business and all the different overlaps at each level within an international company. It was this time with the company, as well as some of the other voluntary periods, that made me realize that a fully commercial apprenticeship at an international company was what I really wanted to do.

When I graduated from high school, I stopped and asked myself which companies would go on my wish list. When you’ve grown up in the Ruhr area – near Cologne and Dusseldorf – you automatically know thyssenkrupp. You bump into thyssenkrupp every day: on the escalator, in the elevator, in the evening watching ads on TV.

So I made a conscious effort to find out more about vocational training at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. I went to some of their events such as the Apprenticeship Meet-Up and thyssenkrupp Steel Europe's Ideas Park and eventually I decided to do an apprenticeship as a commercial trainee alongside my studies at the university of applied sciences for economics and management. The entry test went well and after a face-to-face interview, it felt really good going to thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and signing the apprenticeship contract.

Have you already been around different areas of the business as part of your training?

My apprenticeship has already taken me to lots of areas of the business. The training started with an orientation week. We then went on a variety of seminars such as training on how to use SAP, or Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The idea was to prepare us for our first placement in one of the departments. My first placement was in materials logistics, then I was back to vocational college and at the moment I’m in personnel.

And how would you rate the training?

Well, if I was asked to give thyssenkrupp Steel Europe a grade, it would have to be an A+. From a personal point of view, I really love the amount of variety you get through training. On the one hand, you get theory when you’re at the vocational school, and this is built on in seminars preparing you ideally for the placements in individual departments. On the other, even if you’re still undergoing training, people trust you and give you responsibility. For example, sometimes apprentices are already asked to run the seminar or assume responsibility for projects.

What do thyssenkrupp apprentices like most about their work?

I think when you do an apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, the thing you really start to appreciate is the quality of the training and the doors it opens in terms of your career when it’s over. Also training at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe is up with the times, so it’s not just classroom based, they also offer e-learning. The apprentices share ideas the whole time and really appreciate the personal supervision given by the instructors. It’s a good working atmosphere. And what I really like is the fact that people can express their personal opinions at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and how friendly everyone is with one another.

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