The first few weeks
15. January 2020
I entered the professional world on 12 August 2019. This was the first day of my three-year apprenticeship as a commercial employee at KELLER. I was full of nerves before the big day, with hundreds of thoughts swimming around in my head: How would I handle all the new situations and information? But as soon as the day came and I entered the building, all my apprehension vanished. I was given a warm welcome and introduced to lots of people. Afterwards, there was a lot of information to take in – keeping track of it all was difficult then, and it still is now. Fortunately, there are always other apprentices, employees or schoolmates on hand to help me when I have questions or am unsure about something.
I'm now in my fourth week, and learning to work more independently. I strongly identify with the company culture – it's really something special and it makes me happy. I particularly appreciate the degree of freedom I'm given to carry out my work, and the fact that there are staff members I can turn to when I have work-related questions. Everyone is very friendly and open, and the atmosphere has been great from the start. To begin with, I found the work and the various programmes rather complex, but now I've had a bit of time to get used to them I can say with confidence that I'm getting on well. However, I'm not quite there yet with the products – I still don't know enough about them. But I'm sure that this will continue to improve over time. I constantly find myself in situations where I can absorb useful information. This lines up with my own expectations: at the end of the three years, I want to complete the commercial apprenticeship having gained a large amount of general knowledge.
Another part of the apprenticeship is, of course, attending vocational school. Twice a week, I go to the business school of the Swiss Association of Commercial Employees in Winterthur for mandatory and optional lessons. In the third year, this will drop down to once a week. I have already got off to a good start at school. The teachers are good – they explain the material well and create a positive atmosphere. It's a nice class of 22 pupils – twelve girls and ten boys. What's special about us is that we are a pilot class. We're the first to try out the 'BYOD' (bring your own device) project. The entire lesson takes place digitally, so every pupil has to have their own laptop. We take it with us whenever we go to school, and use it to do our work. All our textbooks are files that we have downloaded to our laptops. This is all very new to us pupils and to the teachers. It takes some time to get used to, but we're getting better every day. Thinking about the future, I'm sure this experience will be very useful to me. However, there are disadvantages to working digitally: things don't stick in your mind as much as when you write them down. However, we've also received physical copies of our textbooks so that we can learn from written material too. Many of the tests will remain in written form as well. Having this mix is important to me: I like working on the laptop, but I prefer textbooks when studying for exams.
All in all, I can say that I'm enjoying work and school. My introduction to the professional world has been a great success. I'm sure that my three years here will be great!