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A different start to apprenticeship training

Even in the current corona pandemic, nearly 200 apprentices and students started their training at Roche sites in Germany in September. We talked to Frederik, Philipp and Ricardo, three dual students who started their electrical engineering studies at Roche in Mannheim a few weeks ago.

What expectations did you have when you first came to the Mannheim high-tech campus?

Ricardo: Since I did not know Philipp and Frederik personally, I hoped that I would get along well with my new colleagues and that we would get along well together. This was confirmed. Of course, I would also have liked us to be able to do small practical exercises in the first three weeks. Unfortunately, these were almost completely cancelled by Corona.

From your point of view, what were the most noticeable effects of the pandemic and what was the biggest challenge for you?

Ricardo: The most noticeable effect was and is that many employees work from home. So the campus is quite empty. Also, the rules of distance and hygiene are always present and everyone does their part to make the workplace as safe as possible. The first few days in the home office were challenging for me because it's hard to keep concentration high when you're in your own room and have to work there. But in the meantime it's working out very well and with the virtual tools we're also really well connected.

Did you feel safe from infection during your pre-internship?

Philipp: Since we worked mobile whenever possible and the separation of the groups worked well, we can answer this question with a clear yes.

Ricardo: Yes, definitely! The Corona rules of conduct, which we always followed, always made me feel safe.

Frederik: We didn't have that much contact with other employees in the pre-study phase, because if something could be done from home, this was usually preferred.

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You had some events on site but also many online events. What were the challenges and what went well?

Philipp: The challenges were definitely problems with programs or with the internet. It became clear that an online meeting cannot replace a normal meeting.

Frederik: I also had small technical problems from time to time which made it difficult for me to work. In retrospect, however, these were only temporary and continuing to work on a project quickly progressed.

Ricardo: For me, the technology was a rather minor problem. Everything was running smoothly in this respect. What I found challenging was that there was no longer a spatial separation between work and home.

Did you have the opportunity to get to know other apprentices and students and exchange ideas with them?

Philipp: You saw other apprentices and students at the online events from time to time, but you couldn't really talk to them. But we did have the opportunity to get to know the other electrical engineering students from previous years during a lunch together - with distance and hygiene rules, of course - and thus exchange ideas with them about the years ahead.

What are you particularly looking forward to when your first practical phase in the company starts now (under Corona rules, of course)?

Ricardo: I'm looking forward to getting to know a department and what the work in that department looks like. I also hope that I will get a first insight into electrical engineering.

Frederik: And I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and getting to know how the different departments work.

Tags: Germany, Mannheim, Areas of Expertise, Early In Career, Genext, Vocational Training