Anything but dull: The versatile apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp
Her apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp turned out to be a winner. After all, Özlem Akdogan did find her dream job at thyssenkrupp. She started out as an Office Management Assistant and now works in Human Resources (HR). Although Özlem did take something of a detour before finding her way to thyssenkrupp.
Özlem did not really have a career plan until she graduated from high school. She decided to pursue a degree in teaching (Mathematics and Turkish) following an internship at a primary school. However, she quickly lost interest in her studies because she was deeply missing a hands-on approach. "Maybe it would be better to do an apprenticeship?" the now 22-year old thought. And so, Özlem did her research to see what sort of apprenticeships were out there, combed through online job sites, and learned about what companies in her home region of North Rhine-Westphalia had to offer.
thyssenkrupp: more than steel
While conducting her research, she came across thyssenkrupp's comprehensive apprenticeship programme – a company that Özlem had held in high esteem even back then. Indeed, this was because her grandfather was a former employee. "I come from Duisburg and thyssenkrupp is a very popular and well-known company in the region - It's known especially for its steel, of course," she reports. "I wanted to see what else thyssenkrupp had to offer and form my own opinions." No sooner said than done: She had been convinced, and, in 2019, she applied for an apprenticeship to become an Office Management Assistant. Upon completing a recruitment test and attending an interview, she was then offered the apprenticeship.
A change of perspective: from applicant to HR department employee
Unlike the teaching degree, the apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp turned out to be a winner. "The apprenticeship was very varied because apprentices at thyssenkrupp are given the chance to work across a variety of departments," Özlem explains. "We also had the chance to do further training to become a state-certified foreign language correspondent. So, after two and a half years, I came out of my apprenticeship with two different degrees in my pocket."
Özlem was particularly interested in working in Human Resources (HR). "When I was assigned to HR, I noticed immediately that I really enjoyed working in this area," Özlem reveals. "I could work independently and got to learn about a whole host of different topics. It was really very interesting seeing HR from the perspective of an apprentice, because, up until then, I had only known it from the perspective of an applicant."
Two qualifications and a permanent contract
It soon became clear to Özlem that she wanted to continue working in this field beyond her apprenticeship, and, upon completing her training, the native 'Duisburger' was given two pieces of good news by her employer: Not only was Özlem was hired on a permanent contract, but she was also able to continue working in her dream field. Since February 2022, Özlem has been responsible for recruiting new hires in her role as a Junior Specialist (HR), i.e. searching for and identifying suitable candidates to fill open vacancies across thyssenkrupp's various companies.
"My responsibilities include writing job descriptions and maintaining the system we use to manage our applicants and coordinate interviews," Özlem reveals about her day-to-day work. "I've also recently started supervising working students and interns, preparing contracts, and other documents including various certificates, for example."
Team spirit, respect, and a willingness to help
This is a job that is quite challenging, as Özlem reveals. "We are responsible for many job roles and this involves overseeing lots of different departments. I think everyone recognises that: there are days when it feels like you're spinning lots of different plates. With this in mind, it's very important that you work in an organised and structured manner and prioritise tasks so as not to miss anything. Otherwise, you can find that you very quickly lose good candidates."
Özlem can always rely on her colleagues' support. The 'together' of thyssenkrupp's claim 'engineering. tomorrow. together.' holds a special significance for Özlem. "To me, together means team spirit, respect, and a willingness to help. I saw just how open and willing my colleagues were to help while I was undergoing my training and this is something I continue to see even now. They did a brilliant job of introducing me to various topics and this made work a great deal more fun. Indeed, I was given the confidence to start working independently and take on a greater number of responsibilities very quickly and very early on."
Looking back, Özlem is more than convinced that the decision she made to pursue an apprenticeship was the correct one. "The apprenticeship was the best decision I ever made. I never thought that I would ever work for such a large company - let alone work at its headquarters."
Would Özlem recommend an apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp to others? "Of course, I would! After all, your future is dependent on the choices you make today. Be courageous and go for it!"
Visit our website for more information on apprenticeships at thyssenkrupp: ausbildung-bei-thyssenkrupp.com