Elke Bauer Sandoval, 21 years, 3rd year

Training: IT Specialist in Applications Development

What was the first day like for you at Markant? And how was the first week?
On the orientation days, we got to know each other a bit and initial friendships were made. That was nice because it means that we still keep in touch and we're always talking to each other. It also alleviated any initial nervousness and tension and made the whole situation more relaxed. In my case, it led to a sense of anticipation about the coming years of my apprenticeship.
After the induction days, we went to the training workshop where we were given a gradual introduction to the issues – it was all very relaxed and there was no pressure. We were able to build and program robots, but there were other challenges for us as well. I thought this was a good introduction and also a good way of moving on to the coming projects.
How do you find working at Markant and what makes it so special?
I enjoy it, I learn something new every day, and every day brings me minor or major successes which enable me to develop further. You could even say that I enjoy coming to work every day and that I look forward to the tasks that I have to do. The training workshop in particular is special, and it makes starting the work in the units easier for me. It's where you're given all the basic knowledge that you need so that you can then start working independently in the departments straight away. Through working in different departments you add to your skills and you're always learning something new. Of course, it's also interesting because no two departments are the same, in fact they're all very different. It's also fascinating to see the different approaches that are taken to work and to get insights into the relevant subjects. Also all the trainers are willing to help you, and they take the time to provide you with support if necessary. Another plus point is the excellent canteen here.
How are you involved in planning the course of your training at Markant?
At the end of the second / beginning of the third year of study there is a review of the trainee's wishes and interests, and this is also when you can have a say about where you would like to be placed.
Both the trainers and the units themselves are receptive to suggestions of subjects or tasks that you would like to be involved in, and they do all they can to grant your wishes.
It's nice that volunteers are always being sought for projects and you can let people know if you're interested. So you have your own subjects that you deal with independently, which is good fun but it's also a great way to learn.
Then you're proud when you manage to finish the work and can give your presentation about it.
We can also have our say and put forward suggestions at events for apprentices. This promotes interaction and communication between group members.
What is there that you hadn't originally expected? What has surprised you about the training?
The fact that the three years seem to have flown by, but that's simply because it's been such good fun and I've had the opportunity to learn so much. All of a sudden I was in the final year and attending interviews about being taken on in the company. Luckily, I had plenty of support at this stage and was always in close contact with the training officer and the departments concerned. It was implemented well so you didn't feel left out of the loop or taken by surprise. I also wouldn't have expected events to be held so regularly where trainees could swap information and build up their team spirit. Nor would I have expected the training to provided on a "step by step" basis, which means that you're always prepared for the next stage and each step leads on to the next one. Even if you sometimes make a mistake it's OK and perfectly normal. Then you're provided with support so that you can learn from it. The culture of constructive feedback was also a pleasant surprise for me because so much positive effort is put into one's own ongoing development and people give you tips as you go along.
How does Markant support you with the training?
Firstly by providing facilities such as software and hardware, but there's also literature about many topics that's provided in the training workshop.
In overall terms, Markant staff provides support through their willingness to help. The open communication with the training officers is also helpful. You notice that they're keen to make sure that the training is organised as well as it can be. The Christmas bonus also provides motivation and it's good to see that we get the same benefits as other members of staff. As I've already said, I think the Markant events are brilliant.
But the training workshop building is also made available if we want to study jointly for the final exam.
Since Excel is relevant to the exam, an Excel course is also provided so that we can be prepared as well as possible.
What are your prospects of being taken on? Do you feel that you're being given a good preparation for your future career?
Yes, I've been given the opportunity to undertake a dual course of study and I'm looking forward to it.
But my prospects of being taken on are very good and I should end up in a department that I like. Normally, you're taken on in the departments that you're interested in and where you feel happy. I generally feel well looked after because I'm always allowed to say where I would like to work and the teams are willing to be flexible if it's possible to do so. But I'm also looking forward to having the opportunity to deepen my theoretical knowledge and to gain a better understanding of it which I can then actually use in the departments. This involves working in new areas which I haven't explored at all up to now. It's nice to have the opportunity to expand my technical knowledge and to be able to support the teams even better.
What prompted your decision to choose an IT training course at Markant?
You could say that I first fell in love with IT during my training, until then I was just vaguely interested in it.
I took my general school-leaving exams, but even then I was interested in technical and logical matters. That's why I always enjoyed maths. To be honest, I wasn't sure what I should do afterwards.
My father started me thinking about IT and then I did an IT internship. That got me interested in IT and I simply 'gave it a go'. That's how I found out just what great fun programming is and I noticed that it was a job that was just right for me. I think it's great that you're always learning something new and you can keep on developing your skills, it's a continuous learning process. It's always varied work and it's never boring. And the fact that you can always try out new things is great fun.
Nevertheless, I didn't really have any previous knowledge and at first I was afraid that that would count against me. However, I acquired knowledge by doing my own research and my ambition was awakened. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it really well and that's what ultimately made me passionate about it. And during the training it became increasingly clear to me that I am good at what I do, which in turn made me more self-confident and made me come out of my shell.
It's also good that a person's gender is not important in IT – what matters is your performance and ability. Everyone's equal and everyone's treated with respect. Previously I was a bit wary because it's been a male-dominated career up to now. I decided to work for Markant because I was convinced by the concept of the training workshop. The fact that the whole group would be taught the basics to start with appealed to me. That's what made me aware of Markant. It's a unique approach to teaching because we all learn from and with each other and that can only add to our knowledge.

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