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12.04.2022 / Patricia Wirth

Vocational Apprenticeship at Muller Martini: Logisticians Lend a Hand

Vocational education is a top priority at Muller Martini. Personal support and individual advancement are particularly important to us. My most important concern as a vocational instructor for logisticians is to always have an open ear for all questions.

Apprentices know that they can come to me at any time and we will look at their concerns together. Whether it's questions about their assignments, school lessons or exam preparation. And, of course, I'm especially there for them when it comes to personal development or conflicts. This varies greatly depending on the personality of the apprentice, which I find very interesting. 

If someone is very independent, I tend to have little to do. If someone needs more support, the close supervision requires much more time and commitment on my part. Then my main task is to have conversations. Not only with the young people, when it comes to tasks they didn't understand or difficulties at work. If necessary, I also talk to those responsible at the vocational school or to the parents - but only if there are difficulties with grades or reliability. 

Helping out on the first day
At Muller Martini, logistics trainees are given very specific tasks on their very first day on the job. They are immediately integrated into the respective teams and have to lend a hand right away - which they particularly like. They really appreciate the fact that they are not fobbed off with the "typical" apprentice jobs, such as copying and making coffee, but can get started straight away with real, day-to-day work. 
My apprentices rotate every two months between three departments where they have their own supervisors: receiving department, the warehouse and the spare parts service center. In the receiving department, they check the delivered goods and book them with the help of the computer. In the warehouse they take over the booked materials, register them in the warehouse management system and store them in the assigned place. They also learn how to pick goods according to the picking list. This is a very important task to ensure that the parts required for assembly arrive on time - and that our machines can finally be put into operation on time at the customer's site. In the spare parts service center, for example, they help to ensure that the goods are delivered to our customers on time. After each change of department, new learning content is again on the agenda. 

Assess and grade
At the end of each of these two-month assignments, learners receive a workplace report from their supervisors. This is where their performance in everyday work is assessed. At the end of each semester, I use these reports and my own evaluation to draw up what is known as a company competence record. This results in five grades, which are then included in the final apprenticeship examination. Writing reports and assessments are an essential part of my work as a vocational instructor. So is preparing the apprentices for the final exam. Here we look at the requirements and content together so that everyone is well prepared for the exams.

As a vocational instructor, I also experience funny or curious moments time and again. Like a few years ago, when a apprentice was driving a forklift truck (by the way, apprentices get their driver's license during their education) and actually ate an ice cream in peace. Inwardly, I had to smile a bit, but of course I gave the apprentice a stern warning. After all, driving a forklift involves a high risk of accident if you are not attentive and adhere to the safety regulations. At any time, an employee can come around the corner or behind a car, which can lead to a serious accident. That's why I'm glad that everything went well at the time.

Making the right choice
I am also involved in the selection of new apprentices. Not only do I supervise the trial apprentices, who are required to look in on us if they are interested and before they apply, but I also conduct the job interviews. After nine years in the role of vocational instructor for logistics specialists, I have gained a lot of experience, which helps me to make a good decision when choosing an applicant. I make sure that they show interest, that they ask questions about the job and the company, and that you don't have to pull every word out of their nose one by one. 

The much-vaunted social and personal skills also play a major role in the selection process. Since we always work in a team and help each other a lot, I attach great importance to this. On the one hand, there are the evaluations from the school reports, which give a first impression. On the other hand, you can also quickly tell whether your appearance and attitude are right by looking around or in an interview. If you have your cell phone in your pocket and have to keep looking at it, you won't go down well with me. Your future colleagues in the team will also be pleased to see you behaving in a decent and friendly manner.

This is what logistics apprentices need to bring with them
Finally, I have a few tips on what young people need to bring with them if they want to become a logistician. You have to be able to work reliably and take responsibility, because many other jobs in assembly depend on correct work in the warehouse later on. It's important to be able to lend a hand, because you'll be working on very specific orders right from the start. And what many people underestimate: in logistics, you also have to be physically fit and have stamina. Because we're often on our feet all day, moving around a lot, and we have to stay focused.

I can recommend that all interested young people take a look at the new Muller Martini Future jobs website. Here they can find out everything about apprenticeships, the application process and possible trial apprenticeships. They are also welcome to contact me personally if they have any questions.

Hope to see you soon!

Patricia Wirth, Order Logistics Muller Martini Zofingen and Vocational Instructor for Logisticians

12.04.2022 Patricia Wirth Patricia Wirth