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So you've finished your apprenticeship. What's next? How careers work at Eppendorf

Aug 18, 2021 • 5 mins read

Production, Sales, Human Resources or rather Accounting, Marketing? Apprentices at Eppendorf have all doors open to them, but what comes after that? Three former apprentices report on their personal career paths within the company.

At Eppendorf, apprentices pass through different departments ranging from Accounting to Sales. This gives them the opportunity to gain an insight into what their future field of work might be like. There are many reasons why this is helpful for the development of their personal careers. For example, it enables them to quickly become aware of their own preferences and talents. They are also able to build up a network early on that they can rely on right at the start of their careers. Furthermore, the sooner they begin to formulate specific career aspirations, the better we as an employer can provide support. This is because completing an apprenticeship is by no means the end of the qualification process at Eppendorf.

Empowering employees to discover their own strengths early on

Three examples illustrate wonderfully how personal responsibility and support from the company can work together at Eppendorf. Take Kristin Heitmann, for example. She completed her training as an industrial management assistant at the beginning of 2018 and was able to develop a sense of her own strengths early on during the two and a half years of her apprenticeship. "I quickly realized that I wanted to work together with other people." So it was no wonder that her first professional position took her to HR. After just six months, she moved to “Corporate Development” which is responsible for controlling and supporting strategic initiatives as well as initiating and implementing M&A projects. "Everything revolved around the "be Eppendorf 2021" initiative, strategic transformation and digitization," says Kristin Heitmann. She was able to pursue her two interests – people and digitization – with determination right from the start of her job.

She also decided to study business psychology on an in-service training basis and was fully supported in this step by her supervisors. The 25-year-old is now about to finish her bachelor's thesis and is grateful that "my employer makes it possible for me to pursue my studies and job at the same time." She has found the working hours arrangement to be almost perfect. She works part-time from Monday to Wednesday and can devote herself to her studies on Thursday and Friday. She has also advanced professionally. She has been working as a project manager in the newly established "Digital Transformation Office" since October 2020. "My job is to link digitization and people in the company and beyond, to prepare them for the digital transformation, and to take away their fear of the new developments associated with Industry 4.0." In fact, it’s all working out so well that Kristin is now even going for a master's degree.

From apprentice to management board project manager

Kevin Koch has already taken this step. The 31-year-old completed his apprenticeship in 2012, during which time he "passed through 20 to 25 departments". He has subsequently had an exciting career with rapid advancement over the past few years. Like his colleague Kristin Heitmann, he also benefited from in-service training, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 2017 and a master's degree in Economy and Management in 2019. For the past year he has been the dedicated project manager for Co-CEO & Chief Commercial Officer Eva van Pelt. His areas of responsibility include project control as well as independent project management of sales and strategy projects. Kevin Koch has found, "If you show personal commitment, you are given the best possible support in your professional development."

His first position was in "Legal & Compliance", focusing on trademarks and designs, as well as associated trademark protection activities. "During this time I visited many international fairs," he says, looking back, "where I defended our technical property rights at various booths". He also knew very early on that project management appealed to him, "I wanted to learn it from the ground up." Four years ago he therefore moved to the strategic department of "Eppendorf Customer Business Management" which was established as part of the then "be Eppendorf 2021" initiative. It was here that he assumed his first project management responsibilities. At that time the main focus was on master data management and the introduction of new analytical hierarchy processes. An absolute highlight for him was getting to spend an extended period abroad working on a project at Eppendorf's location in Enfield, CT/USA. It was supposed to last for six months, but due to the pandemic it was shortened to four, which is something Kevin Koch really regrets. "This is still a personal career dream of mine", he says, "I'd love to work abroad again, but this time for a longer period." Given that Eppendorf has more than 28 locations worldwide, the company certainly has a lot to offer in terms of global career prospects.

Using digital skills to achieve success

Lasse Steyer started his career in Production. He had already been able to make many contacts during his period of training as an industrial management assistant, which proved to be of immediate benefit. It was from a tip from a colleague that his future supervisor became aware of him. Looking back Steyer says he really appreciates it that "managers in the company actively approach young people and that you are also taken note of as an apprentice, with all your skills." Steyer took over a position in job control from a colleague who had retired. It was ideal for him, "I am technically minded and extremely interested in digital technology," he says of himself. Thanks to these skills he was able to digitize areas of his work which significantly reduced the original workload. "I think the result spoke for itself," he says, and you can definitely hear him smiling on the other end of the phone. He also took on other complex tasks, ranging from issues relating to the introduction of SAP in production to even organizing construction activities, such as the new House 10.

As "Team Lead Assembly", the 28-year-old now manages 25 employees, exactly four years after starting his training. The focus of his work is printing control and optimization, packaging for sensitive products in later stages and developing product improvements for his areas. Summing up thus far he is very positive, "As a young person you can quickly have your say here and also help shape things, if you want to." Lasse Steyer is also seriously considering whether he should pursue further studies, or if in-service training could be an option, "After all, my aim is to develop myself further …"