My Apprenticeship at KATHREIN-Werke KG
Our internship in Bristol
At the beginning of April we, a group of Kathrein trainees, who consist of Simone Hermann, Johanna Denkschmid and Melanie Hupfauer, took the chance to spend our internship abroad.
At the end of the last year the selection process started for the three-week foreign training period in Bristol, England. We had applied with a motivational letter to the vocational school, our knowledge of English was checked during an interview. The interview was in English and we were asked about our expectations of foreign training. Afterwards, we wrote our applications and sent them off to England. In January, we received the good news that all three of us were being allowed to go to Bristol along with 17 other girls.
On Sunday, 03 April 2016 we met at 06:45 at Munich Airport and flew from there to Heathrow, London. We took a coach from there and arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon at Bristol coach station. Our host families were waiting here for us and collected us from the coach station.
The next morning our group of 20 girls met our organiser at St. Nicholas House to get some new information and to discuss the plan for the next three weeks. After a short tour of the city everyone contacted their host companies. So that we were well prepared for our first day at work.
Then it was time for the start of our internship and we introduced ourselves to the company. All the colleagues were very friendly and helpful. They were happy to get to know us and were really interested in the German way of life. The work included many different tasks, for example we did filing, customer surveys and banking administration.
After our work we met and visited some sights in Bristol in small groups. The Cabot Tower offers an amazing view over the city and the wonderful Suspension Bridge is also worth a visit.
In the evenings we had dinner together with our host families and spoke about our experiences of the day, we played games and watched movies. We had the opportunity to improve our language skills and to get lots of information about life in Bristol.
In the second week our teachers flew to Bristol and visited us in our host companies.
During this time we went on a group trip to Cardiff, the capital of Wales. There we visited Cardiff Castle and after lunch we took a water taxi to Cardiff Bay.
Of course, we also went to see London.
On our second weekend the three of us and some other girls took the bus to visit the English capital city.
We had a tight schedule, as we wanted to see as many sights as possible in the short time of two days.
Beside Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Tower Bridge we visited a lot of other sights. The next morning we went to the London Eye and ended off the day with visit to a big M&M store.
After an ample meal we caught the bus back to Bristol at 9 pm.
On other weekends we visited the cities of Bath, Cheddar, Wells, Glastonbury and the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. It gave us a chance to experience the English way of life.
On Saturday 23 April 2016 we came back to Germany with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other.
During our three week journey we had many wonderful moments and we could improve our language skills by working with English companies and living together with our host families. Due to this experience we are much more confident to use our English language skills in our daily work in Germany.
Three weeks in London - a field report
Staying abroad is a personal gain for young people and is particularly useful for the job or studies. Isabell Späth is doing an apprenticeship as an industrial management assistant at Kathrein. In November 2015 she had the opportunity to spend 3 weeks in London to do an internship at an English company. This was enabled by the European Erasmus+ Programme and supported by the KulturLife organisation. Her employer released her from work and assumed the costs. A field report summarises her impressions:
I had to make several preparations before staying abroad. The organisations asked us to write a letter of motivation in German, as well as in English; we also had to prepare a European CV in English. Furthermore, every participant had an interview in English and we all had to summarise our reasons as to why we would like to take part in this journey. With these tasks, our English knowledge was tested.
Each student also had the task of making a self-evaluation. It comprised listening comprehension and speaking , as well as social aspects, like self-confidence. Our English teacher, Ms Grossmann, arranged several English lessons for learning the neccessary vocabulary and for getting to know some cultural background.
Our group consisted of 12 girls. On 8 November 2015 we left Munich at 07:40 am and arrived at Heathrow at 09:00 am. A bus driver from the KulturLife organisation picked us up and took us to a collecting point near Honor Oak. Our host families were waiting there for us and we could get our first impressions of London.
Our host family was quite nice, but we were not fully integrated into their daily family life. We had a separate little flat, consisting of a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom that we shared with two other French girls. Due to this, it was also a good chance for improving my French skills. Every day, our host mother came into our flat and put our dinner in the kitchen. She always asked us if everthing was okay and gave us useful tips for managing life in London.
On the second day, our group attended a foreign language school. An English teacher organized an introductory day and helped us to find our ways to our companies. He also informed us about typical English culture and way of life. My daily trip to work was very impressive and unusual. I lived with my host family in Catford and had to commute to Holborn, which is in the centre of London. I used several methods of public transport -- like buses, trains and tubes and I had to change very often. On my way to work I could already see some interesting sights, like London Eye, Big Ben and the famous Tower Bridge.
I worked with another student from my class at the "Sheridian Main" recruiting company. My working area was in the office and my classmate worked at the reception. My main tasks were administrative data input duties. I downloaded CVs and looked after communication with candidates in order to update the company‘s database. Furthermore, I did characteristic office work, like filing documents and processing Excel lists.
Our working hours were 09:00 am to 5:00 pm. On two days, Pia (my classmate) and I were allowed to leave our work earlier to spend some time in the city and to get to know London better. The working hours for our colleagues were longer and it became apparent that the working conditions and methods were different from Germany.
On the weekends, we could do some fantastic sightseeing and shopping. Many impressive sights, such as the City of London, Greenwich, London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace and also the famous Oxford Street and Hyde Park made our stay memorable. Ms. Grossmann visited us for one week and got informed about our tasks in the companies, asked about our well-being and made a great sightseeing tour with us.
Despite some minor challenges, my stay in London was a great success. It boosted my self-confidence enormously, because I had to master any given situation in English. Furthermore, I improved my listening comprehension and my English speaking. I gained very interesting insights into an English company and had many positive experiences. I met people from different cultural backgrounds and could witness the London lifestyle. Additionally, I could visit many interesting sights at the weekends and got to know London in all its facets. In my opinion, one should use the opportunity of staying abroad, if given the chance.
Personal Report of my Apprenticeship at Kathrein
I started my job training as a technical product designer at KATHREIN-Werke KG in September 2013. Doing my apprenticeship with a company that is working in one of the most important industries of the future was the perfect choice for me. This is why I applied for an apprenticeship at Kathrein.
My first year as an apprentice started with a practical and theoretical course, in which I learned about the basics of metalworking. I soon got to know many other apprentices. In the training office for technical product designers, I learned the basics of technical drawing. I was also trained in a 3D drawing software and many other programs and I got the chance to do some smaller jobs for the construction engineers.
In my second year, I worked in the FEM and SEM departments (filter-development-mechanics and satellite-development-mechanics). In these departments, I learned how products function and helped to design various parts and components. What I had learned previously in vocational school perfectly supplemented the practical part of my apprenticeship at Kathrein. Transferring to new departments at regular intervals gave me the chance to get to know many new colleagues and new methods of working. I found out that different departments work differently. During the year, I enhanced my knowledge by attending a number of practical courses (lathing, milling and welding) and the in-house apprenticeship training.
My third year started in September 2015 and will probably be my final year. My aim is to get good enough grades so that I can shorten my apprenticeship by half a year. Kathrein supports my goal and will help me to make up for lessons missed. In my final year, I will be working in the MES department (mobile communication-development-special antennas), helping to develop special antennas for mobile communication. I am very much looking forward to doing this job.
Apprentice technical product designer
Report on experience: Overseas practical experience in England
A gap year for students has become commonplace, but it is still something special for an apprentice. For an apprentice, overseas practical experience is however very valuable: It offers the opportunity to gain new skills, to establish new contacts and to gain international experience. In the course of training as an industrial mechanic at Kathrein, Andrea Perl was offered the opportunity to spend four weeks of practical experience from 4th October 2014 to 1st November 2014 at Dudley (Birmingham). After her return she summarised her impressions.
"For the organising and financing of this overseas experience, I was supported by Kathrein and also assisted by the Schleswig-Holstein Commercial Academy and Dudley College, who established contact with the company where I received my training and also arranged my accommodation with a local family.
During the first week I took part in a language course at Dudley College, to freshen up my command of English and to improve it a little. In addition I gained an insight into the multi-cultural variety of everyday life in England; I got to know many interesting people from Pakistan, Iran, Portugal, India, Poland, Russia, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Each had their own reasons why they had landed up in Dudley. What united us all was a great spirit of hospitality. One of my Pakistani co-pupils even invited me to her wedding.
In the second week I started work at Savigny Oddie Limited. This is a small company with 14 employees. Its principal business is making components for other companies, and it has specialised in CNC milling and turning, together with laser cutting and bending. It also produces a range of patented fasteners.
During my visit I was able to deepen my knowledge of programming CNC milling machines and lathes, and gain experience on working with machines that were unfamiliar to me. I also learnt how to operate a laser tool and a press brake. In addition to the technical aspects I also gained an insight into the way a company that specialises in machining operates. Furthermore I became aware of differences in friendliness between employees when comparing Germany and Great Britain. Despite the fact that the company targets for monthly and annual turnover were known, and helped create motivation, we never failed to enjoy ourselves. Or the tea-breaks.
Since Savigny Oddie is a very small company, the contact between employees is quite different. People know each other not only as colleagues at work but also know their families and one another's life stories. Relationships between them were reinforced by going on holiday together and by meeting in the evening.
It can be said that this company behaved more like a small family into which I was warmly welcomed; they took it in good part when I asked for the third time what it was they had said, because I hadn't understood the first time. They are aware that their local dialect is not easy to follow.
Of course life didn't just consist of work. My accommodation was with an older lady who went to great trouble to make my stay as pleasant as possible. Two other exchange pupils from Chile and Canada shared the same accommodation. At the weekends we made many excursions, including to the Black Country Living Museum, which portrays life in the region as it was around the year 1900.
An excursion to nearby Birmingham was also not to be missed. Amongst the many sights and shops there was also an Oktoberfest in progress. This consisted of a beer tent which was almost empty, and some rather poor background music, which fell rather far short of the genuine Oktoberfest article.
All in all, my stay in Great Britain was a very interesting, informative and above all varied period in my life, which I would not have missed for anything. I had the opportunity not only to improve my competence in using English and broadening my technical knowledge, but also to gain an insight into many different cultures. I was able also to gather completely new experiences of the English way of life. I found the people there incredibly kind, welcoming and always concerned to ensure I had an interesting stay."
Experience report: Apprentice systems and devices electronics technician
In September 2012 I started my apprenticeship as a systems and devices electronics technician at Kathrein in Rosenheim. I applied at Kathrein, because of its good reputation and because of the company’s stability.
At the beginning I was very nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. However in the first week my nerves were calmed as I was given the opportunity to gain an insight into the next 3 years of training.
The first year in the apprentice’s workshop was great fun and I was taught the basic skills of electrical engineering. There was also no shortage of theory or practice. Cooperation with the other trainees gave me great pleasure and our teamwork improved a lot.
In the second year, I got an insight into the production. Here the contexts and processes of the other departments were precisely explained.
I also got involved with some of the manufacturing processes of the departments. One is now a major support of the department and is already now being used in many ways.
I am very grateful for the expertise of employees whose knowledge was willingly passed on to me.
In the third year of training development of the training is the focussed more on the respective departments in which we will be working. I'm learning how our products are designed, developed, improved and tested.
Once a week we meet at the training workshop to learn about new content and also to increase our depth of knowledge on old content.
I currently support the employees in the automotive development section with the building of prototypes of switching matrices, which are used internationally by us.
Apprentice systems and devices electronics technician
Experience report: Commercial apprentices
In September 2012, I started training as an industrial clerk at the KATHREIN-Werke KG. The training in a medium-sized, internationally active companies seemed to be the perfect choice for me. The central location in Rosenheim is also an advantage.
Already in the first year I took responsibility and worked independently I was warmly welcomed by colleagues, which greatly eased the transition from school into working life. As you get to know new people and departments on a regular basis, the work is never boring guaranteed. I have already got an insight into a wide range of responsibilities, from sales, logistics, purchasing, personnel, accounting to the quality assurance - so I'm gradually learning about the exactness of working relationships in the company.
During the course of work you don’t only regularly meet your trainee colleagues, you also prepare for exams in the vocational school and we worked on exciting projects in groups.
You get to know colleagues outside work at various events such as the apprentices Xmas party and the football tournament. What I particularly liked the fact that Kathrein gave me two weeks abroad in London, which was organised by the apprentice’s school.
The trainees also have to take the opportunity and go to job information fairs where they can present the company to the outside world.
During the training period you are provided with plenty of challenges from Kathrein, and these encourage personal development as well as the identification of strengths and weaknesses. I would advise that you show enthusiasm and lots of ambition during the training, as a completed apprenticeship opens up many possibilities later in your professional life. As a trained industrial management assistant there are countless amounts of doors open, and lots of other possibilities to further my training.
I am now in the third year of my training and will spend the last six months of my training in a specialist department. I am already looking forward very much to this new challenge.