From college to workshop: #ChallengeAccepted

Apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp | Career at thyssenkrupp | People at thyssenkrupp | High school - and what comes next? Durin Jouma first decided to study in Essen to become a teacher. But then doubts arose and she decided differently. An internship offered appropriate orientation and so she took a new path - without studying to become a teacher. An apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg: a new phase in her life with exciting tasks lay ahead of her.

Why did you quit your studies?

After a few semesters I simply realized that I lacked practical relevance. The studies were quite boring and very theory-based. I was missing something. And that was working with my hands. Even at school, I had fun doing handicrafts and making objects according to models in the technology class.

How did you find your apprenticeship place at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe?

Through my older sister, who already works here as a process mechanic and helped me to get an internship. I liked it so much that I did not even want to leave back then. The decision to do an apprenticeship and not to go to university was quickly made.

What was the next step?

After the internship I submitted my application documents, an assessment test and an interview followed. First I wanted to become a process mechanic like my sister. But there was no apprenticeship position available. Instead, I was offered a similar apprenticeship program, namely that of industrial mechanic. Since this profession also involves a lot of manual work, I immediately took the chance.

And never regretted the step?

No, not at all. I’m so glad to finally be able to do some practical work. The work is varied and challenging. Even during the training period, we are involved in operational processes and in the training workshop, for example, we make fastenings for signs in the company. I also don’t mind being in the workshop at half past six in the morning or at school at eight o’clock. Compared to university, that’s really early, but it’s also an advantage because it gives me more of the day.

What stages do you go through in your practical training?

In the first and second year of apprenticeship we are exclusively in the apprenticeship workshop and attend vocational school two days a week. In the third year of apprenticeship we enter the company. I will be working at the main electrical plant to service and repair engines. 

What do you particularly like about your training?

A lot! Not only the variety of topics, but also the modern machinery and the comprehensive range of training courses. The opportunities for further development are also particularly interesting: I can register for further qualification as a technician as early as the start of the third year of training. You won’t find this anywhere else.

What is the relationship between apprentices and trainers?

Fine. Very friendly and respectful at the same time. The trainers support us wherever possible and even stand with us at the workbench. We work together in a team without any hierarchies.

What qualifications should one have for the profession of industrial mechanic?

In principle, anyone can apply here, regardless of their school-leaving certificate. In my experience, the only important thing is that you enjoy mathematics and technology. In your job, you have to be able to calculate volumes and areas, for example. If you don’t have an understanding of numbers, then the training makes no sense. In addition, you shouldn’t be too sorry to get dirty from time to time, that’s what the job entails.

Industrial mechanic is a classic male profession.

I don’t think so. In my apprenticeship year, I may be the only woman among 49 men, but women are just as talented and just as suitable for this profession as men. I can’t see the difference.

thyssenkrupp in one word


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