Groz-Beckert KG

Newsletter 2 | 2012

Discovering the world with Groz-Beckert –
'combistudents' working abroad

7,500 employees worldwide and activities in over 150 countries – not only customers and partners but also employees benefit from the global presence of Groz-Beckert. When working abroad at various Groz-Beckert subsidiaries, so-called 'combistudents' can gain valuable experience for their professional futures, make new contacts and develop their personalities. Where and how? The exciting experiences and impressions of five of these combistudents will make that clear!

Combistudents and global presence

Each year Groz-Beckert offers so-called combi-studies in mechanical engineering (MAB) and communications and software technology (KST). The special thing about combi-studies is that they contain both an apprenticeship as well as a university study course. In the first 2.5 years the combistudent completes his or her apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic or IT specialist. That is followed by the actual full-time degree course at the University of Albstadt-Sigmaringen. During their studies the students receive financial support from Groz-Beckert, and in return work at the factory during their vacation. The advantage here is that the students not only complete a purely theoretical course of study with one practical semester but also go on to gain even more practical experience during their semester vacations.

As a global company – with an export quota of over 80 percent – Groz-Beckert naturally encourages intercultural understanding among its employees. For technicians in particular, being prepared to travel to other countries is a central requirement. The intention of Groz-Beckert here is to awaken interest in the diversity of the textile world as early as the training phase. The company also gives its combistudents the chance to work at a subsidiary abroad during a practical semester overseas. This is aimed at broadening the young people's minds, making them tolerant of other cultures and aware of different national attitudes.

China

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The combistudents Michael Scherer and Peter Heissel, both studying mechanical engineering, spent their practice phase at the production subsidiary Yantex Precision Textile Accessories Co., Ltd. in Yantai, China. The two young men agree that their stay abroad in China was a very important and above all interesting experience. This was not only due to the country's very different culture and mentality in comparison with Germany, but also to the fact that the students realized that everyday work was an entirely new experience. They very soon came to appreciate the helpfulness and hospitality of their Chinese colleagues.

Michael Scherer and Peter Heissel were surprised by the language, however, because even though the German media may have a different view of things, communicating in English in China is not always that helpful. Fortunately, Groz-Beckert offers its student regular courses in Chinese, and the two years of studying the language turned out to be very useful for the combistudents. After their work in Yantai was over, Michael Scherer and Peter Heissel took the opportunity to travel around the country. This took them to several places including Beijing, where they visited the Great Wall.

India

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China is not the only overseas destination that Groz-Beckert offers its combistudents: Isabell Riede and Benjamin Barth, also studying mechanical engineering, spent part of their practical semester in Chandigarh, India. This was the fulfillment of an ambition for Isabell Riede, who ever since the start of her studies had been dreaming of traveling to India and getting to know the country and its people. Isabell Riede actually marks a milestone in Groz-Beckert's corporate history: she was the very first German woman (and also technical student) to work at the Indian production subsidiary Groz-Beckert Asia (GBA). She smiles as she remembers that it was more of a culture shock for the Indians than it was for herself. A Western woman with blonde hair and blue eyes is still a rarity in India, and she attracted quite a bit of attention. The fact that Isabell is interested in technology made her even more exotic in their eyes.

Benjamin Barth is also very positive about his stay at the Indian production subsidiary, and remembers how friendly, forthcoming, cooperative and helpful his Indian colleagues were. Both students noticed that there was a far closer connection between management and production than in Germany. This gave them a very good insight into how the factory functioned, how decisions were reached and how the work areas were structured. Isabell Riede found it exceptionally interesting that a job abroad involves numerous different and additional challenges when compared to the same job in Germany. Despite his Indian colleagues' openness, Benjamin Barth still clearly noticed several cultural differences: certain ways of behaving that are considered quite normal in Germany were impossible in India because of the different mindset there. Recognizing these, and solving them without any conflicts, was a very exciting challenge for him and for Isabell Riede as well.

For both combistudents, India came across as a country of extreme contrasts. On the one hand they saw an open, modern society – but on the other they were struck by its extremely conservative outlook. The pollution from emissions and the climate were also unfamiliar by German standards.The two combistudents were also able to discover the especially attractive sides of India, however. On her sightseeing tour, Isabell Riede saw the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Ganges in Rishikesh. Benjamin Barth traveled to Shimla, a beautiful city with old English architecture, before continuing on to Kashmir and hiking to altitudes of 4000 meters above sea level in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Ireland

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© Institute of Technology Tralee, Co. Kerry

With Groz-Beckert it doesn't always have to be China or India when you're gaining experience abroad. Daniela Dapper decided to do a theory semester overseas and chose Ireland. More specifically, the Institute of Technology Tralee, Co. Kerry. The reason for her decision was that she preferred to study in an English-speaking country – and the courses she attended there would also count toward her course in Germany. In this way she experienced no delay in her studies.

During her stay, Daniela Dapper lived in a private cottage located around 30 minutes away from the South Campus, where most of her courses took place. Today she still enthusiastically remembers the Southwest coast of Ireland, with its magnificent beaches and cliffs. She also visited the famous Ring of Kerry while she was there. Daniela Dapper was impressed by how happy and communicative the Irish were. She made friends right away, and felt very much at home in her new country.

Opportunities for all

The world of textiles in diverse and many-faceted – and at Groz-Beckert, employees have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a great many aspects of it and gain first-hand experience. This applies as much to employees who have been with the company a long time as it does to junior staff! For more detailed information about the company's personnel policy, feel free to contact Groz-Beckert directly.