"I Definitely Want to Come to SMA" – Apprenticeship Night

This post was originally published in 2011. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Buket at the Apprenticeship Night

Buket at the Apprenticeship Night

Kassel, main train station and cultural center, 5 pm. As I enter the building, I look for the exhibit hall hosting the “Kassel Apprenticeship Night” an event where students can gather information about potential careers. A team of apprentices from various companies in Kassel organized the entire event under the slogan “From Us For You.” In one section, I see disco lights flashing and a DJ busy at the turntables. That must be the apprenticeship fair. A young man in an orange T-shirt greets me with a friendly smile and hands me a program. “This highlights everything that’s going on tonight,” he says. “Be sure to check out the dance performances.” I smile back and head on in. The space is bathed in colored lights while house music pulsates in the background. Not bad.

“Journey through the Jobs”

Keeping to the left, I arrive at “Journey through the Jobs.” In this area, students can choose among four broad fields: technical, commercial, caregiving and dual studies. At the booth for commercial occupations, I meet Andreas Stefanovic, an apprentice service specialist for dialogue marketing. “When students come to us, I ask first about where their strengths lie,” he says. “That’s important,” adds Katharina Knipp, an apprentice in wholesale and international marketing. “Many of them still haven’t decided what they want to do.” Katharina and Andreas talk with the students about their jobs in general, not at any particular company. Meanwhile, someone is interviewing the captain of the KSV Hessen Kassel soccer team about the challenge of combining sports and an apprenticeship.

Job Application Coaches Offer Placement Tests “To Go”

Moritz helps students

Moritz helps students

In the section to apply for positions, the organizers have put together useful information and tips about filling out forms and doing well at interviews. For example, visitors can pick up a placement test “to go” and look at sample cover letters, complete with mistakes to be corrected. Apprentices are on hand to answer any questions. There’s even a photographer who will take a picture to send along with applications. Cool.

In the adjacent section of the exhibit hall, participating companies have set up booths. At the SMA booth, I meet apprentices Moritz Engelhoven and Marzena Ziaja. “We’ve been busy the whole time,” says Moritz. “One student even said, ‘I definitely want to come to SMA.’ Marzena comments, “Some of them are worried about their grades however we assure them that they don’t need top marks in every subject.” The first-hand advice is well received. “We can help the students and give them tips based on our own experience,” says Buket Akkus, an industrial sales apprentice at SMA and one of the event organizers. She adds, “We think they felt comfortable with us.”

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