"I was attracted by the idea of doing something completely different and meeting interesting people," says Tim Ebert. The journey alone was an adventure for the 20-year-old, who drove north in his car and made a road movie. In total, he covered 8,500 kilometres in three weeks and saw landscapes that deeply impressed him.
"There are tremendous lakes and streams in Sweden, sometimes we can't even imagine so much nature," enthuses the 20-year-old, who lived in Sorsele in holiday accommodation for students, where he gained insight into the vocational school in Arjeplog and work process of his host company. He was able to try out new occupation areas and use the skills he acquired during his training. The highlight of the stay was when he was asked to repair the host company's tow truck. Not an easy task, especially since no one knew anything about the vehicle type. But he succeeded, although manual labour was demanded.
Afterwards, everyone in the village of 2000 people knew the trainee from Germany. By the story, Tim was strengthened in an opinion that not only training at the vocational school is important, but the understanding of connections and processes. Tim was invited to Sorsele several times. As he says, the relaxed people were the actual highlight of his stay in northern Sweden.
People were very open, privately and at work, wanted to get to know me and do something together. They also had a lot of trust in me. I could do things at work that are not a matter of course," says Tim Ebert. His wish is to retain some of the Swedes' work mentality in Germany and to approach things positively. After all, composure can also mean quality. He learned that in Sorsele.
Tim Ebert became aware of the possibility of an internship abroad through a presentation held by mobility coach Andreas Jörk from the Chamber of Crafts in Gera, who had visited the vocational school where Tim was studying. Stefan Meißner, managing director of the training company PRG Personen- und Reiseverkehrs Ltd, in Greiz, also liked the idea immediately. Mr Meißner himself had taken advantage of the opportunity during his studies and spent a few weeks in Switzerland. That certainly was one of the key reasons why he agreed. He was also familiar with successful examples of cross-border cooperation from previous activities.
"The main thing for me is that the young people broaden their horizons and see how other companies work. At the same time, they can use the skills they have acquired here. Someone who has been abroad once can organise and find their way around in a different environment. That is something that young people need to learn, who otherwise tend to be around their family and workplace. From my point of view, the mobility projects are a character moulding experience for young people. They grow as a personality." - Mr Meißner describes the advantages of experience abroad in training.
The Erasmus+ programme was initially new territory for Stefan Meißner. Mobility coach Andreas Jörk from the Chamber of commerce and Industry, Gera, proved to be a "door opener" that showed the opportunities of the stay abroad for the apprentice and the company. He also acquired a corresponding EU grant through the Erasmus+ pool project "Let's go". He was able to refer to the best project from Thuringia. In January 2018, two Swedish trainees had worked in a similarly structured company in Saalfeld. Both came from the same school, through which the contact to Lapland and the organisation ran. For Andreas Jörk, this is proof of how good European networking works. He would like to stay in dialogue and make the vocational training offers more attractive. In his opinion, the "Lapland Adventure" shows what is possible in this field. And Tim Ebert can tell a lot about it.
December 2018, Manfred Kasper on behalf of NA-BIBB.
Training without borders: What sparked your decision to do an internship abroad during your training? How did you come up with the idea?
My training company pushed me. Our HR department approached me and asked me if I would like to travel to Glasgow and gain new experience. Another trainee from our group had already decided to do so, and the organisation probably had only one place available at short notice for an internship abroad in Glasgow. Two days later, I talked with Ms Bethke, my trainer and our sales manager. In this conversation, it became clear to me quite quickly that I had to do this :)
Training without borders: How did you convince your company (Berentzen) of the idea?
I didn't even have to convince my company, as the idea came from them. I only had a few days to inform them about my decision, but they already knew it. :)) The branch office, Grüneberg, let me go with a smile and a heavy heart, as I was already a full-fledged staff member at that time.
Training without borders: How beneficial was the internship abroad for you? Has it changed your work methods? What has changed for you personally and professionally?
The stay in Glasgow has changed me as a person. I become much more open to the world. It is much easier for me to deal with new situations and to solve problems independently. I was told that I am now much more confident, which helps me of course in my professional life, in conversations with customers. During the internship, I have learned that the way of working in other countries does not necessarily correspond to our German way of working. In Glasgow, everything is much more relaxed and less bureaucratic. But I also learned to appreciate the receipt for every transaction, which can be a great advantage sometimes. Language plays a huge role too. I used to be reluctant to speak English and admired my friends who had spent up to a year abroad. In Glasgow, I realised that everything is much easier when you get involved. The barriers fell very quickly, and the language was no longer an obstacle.