I'll be a Design Engineer at Muller Martini

Towards the end of my mandatory schooling, I never thought that I would one day learn a technical profession. Now I'm in my third year of training to become an EFZ design engineer (EFZ is the Swiss Federal Certificate of Proficiency) and I'm already working on very specific innovation projects. 

How did it come about? At school, I didn't really have any idea what job would suit me or what I would enjoy doing. That's why I got a taste of different areas: I worked in retail at the post office, I was offered an apprenticeship as a commercial clerk, and I looked into training as a health professional. These are classic girls' apprenticeships. Because I had no idea what I wanted to do after school, I concentrated on getting good grades in all subjects. With a good school-leaving certificate - or so I thought - I would definitely have the opportunity to find something suitable later on. 

Teacher gives the tip
In the end, it was my teacher in geometric-technical drawing (GTZ) who told me that I should do something technical. Slowly the idea took shape. I can imagine objects very well spatially and understand drawings well logically, which is why GTZ was actually one of my favourite subjects. I also enjoyed working on CAD back then. In addition, a colleague had also just accepted an apprenticeship as a design engineer. She motivated me even more and, as luck would have it, I then discovered an open apprenticeship position at Muller Martini.

Quickly applied
Because I was so late, everything happened very quickly. I applied immediately. At school, we had been prepared very well for the application process. I knew what information was important, how the application should formally look and, above all, that I had to correct the spelling mistakes. Due to my late start, everything was postponed a bit. Actually, you do the trial apprenticeship before the application, but I was allowed to do it after I had already send my application. I spent two days at the Learning Park, our training center at Muller Martini, where I was able to solve various design tasks. This was immediately followed by the interview, which was very pleasant. I was terribly nervous, but my vocational trainer Roger Hochuli took away all my nervousness. He asked his questions very calmly and I really liked the human and personal approach. And at the end, I was immediately accepted for the apprenticeship!

First theory - then practice
In retrospect, I have to say that the job is even more exciting and varied than I had imagined after the trial apprenticeship. In the first and second year of the apprenticeship, I was trained in the basics in the learning park. There's a lot of theory here at first, but also the first practical exercises. I got to know all the terms, how to read technical drawings with all the symbols correctly - and then, of course, how to draw correctly and accurately. If you get just one symbol wrong, it could be that the wrong material is used later in production, for example. Or that the automation engineer can't install the control correctly. So you bear quite a lot of responsibility for ensuring that the parts are ultimately manufactured correctly.

Women power in construction
I would also like to mention that the fact that I, as a woman, have chosen a typically male profession is not an issue in my private environment or at work. I think it's all about disposition, interest and the right motivation so that you can do your job well - and not about gender. In fact, at vocational school (which, by the way, I attend two days a week for the first two years of my apprenticeship and one day a week for the last two), I'm only one of four girls. And that's in four full classes! At Muller Martini, we are still two female apprentice design engineers. It's great that I'm treated exactly the same as my male apprentices in everyday working life and that only my performance counts. The most important thing for me is that we have a good and human relationship with each other and that the atmosphere is good.

The perfect workplace
Now in my third year of apprenticeship, I am 18 years old and I am sure that I made the right decision in training to become a design engineer. After the basic training in the learning park, I have been working in the Digital Solutions department since this summer. My new workplace is located in an open-plan office, which behind closed doors is called "The Penthouse". Not only does it have a great view of the town of Zofingen and the local mountain, Heiteren, it also offers the perfect distant view of the Central Swiss Alpine panorama when the weather is nice. This is definitely a good place to stay!

Collaborate on innovations
But of course, the view isn't what's really exciting about this job. The Digital Solutions department is one of our innovation hotbeds. Here, new solutions are developed for the increasingly important area of digitally networked solutions, all the way to the smart factory. I can already work on real projects here and also take on specific tasks. I modify drawings or come up with solutions to upcoming problems. You can already be very creative here and contribute your own ideas. It's great that the engineers listen to me - even though I'm one of the small cogs in the system as an apprentice - and take on board my ideas. I'm particularly impressed when I see the machine I'm working on live and in action. I would never have imagined it to be so big and so fast!

A job with a future
It's not quite clear yet what I'll do after I finish my apprenticeship. I'd like to continue learning, possibly take the professional baccalaureate (the specialist baccalaureate in Switzerland), and then study. I could also train to become a technical specialist or a technician HF (mechanical engineering). So there are many paths open to me. And I definitely want to stay in the technical field. Because I want a job with a future later on, and I definitely see one there.

Have I made you curious? Then take a look at the information on our apprenticeships on the website. Maybe you'll soon be part of our team too.

Kind regards

Elena Gashi
Apprentice Muller Martini AG