Since summer of 2016, commercial apprentices may apply for two international semesters. During six months, they strengthen their knowledge of foreign languages in English and French. Furthermore, at the end of their internship, they may pass higher language certificates directly in the foreign countries.
Already acquired knowledge is applied and expanded during their internship. The daily business will also expand intercultural experiences and boost self-confidence. This year Tamara, Benedict and Anna are qualified to experience this adventure and will report alternately from London and Geneva.
When I was informed about the KV Plus at the first job interview within Schindler, it was immediately clear to me that I wanted to take this opportunity unique for my advantage. All the more I am pleased that I am now allowed to start the KV Plus year at Schindler UK in summer 2018 and then finish the year abroad in Lausanne (French speaking part of Switzerland).
Thanks to Schindler vocational training, I may gain work experience in Great Britain and the French speaking area of Switzerland during my commercial apprenticeship. Certainly, I will miss my family, my gymnastics club, as well as my colleagues and friends, but I am also looking forward to many new and interesting acquaintances. I am looking forward to learn more about new cultures, two foreign languages certificates and work experience abroad.
Since my childhood I travel a lot and have already been able to discover many beautiful places in this world. I got to know many different cultures, which always inspired me. During my “KV Plus year” I will learn and get to know two cultures even more deeply. Now I have the opportunity to learn and experience two foreign languages and its cultures intensively. This will certainly open many doors in my professional life. For me, this is a great opportunity to live and work in three different regions of the world during my apprenticeship.
Early on, my plan was to live and work abroad. The opportunity to experience this during my apprenticeship was perfect for me. Obtaining so much support from Schindler Vocational Training and KV Lucerne in this experience makes things easier. I am very much looking forward to all the experiences this year will bring and hope to learn a lot.
Benedikt reports from London
It is already the end of May and slowly my KV plus year is coming to an end. The remaining weeks will be very exciting. My English exam is getting closer and closer and I am busy with the preparation and revision, whether in the language school or at home.
Despite the stress of the exam, my spare time is not neglected. Last weekend I took the train to Portsmouth, a harbour town in the southwest of England. The weather was fine, it was partly cloudy, even a bit sunny and there was a light sea breeze. From Portsmouth there are good ship connections to the Isle of Wight, among them you can also travel by hovercraft.
The head office of Schindler UK, where I work, moved at the end of this month. In our old office in Weybridge we cleaned out and disposed of a lot of things so that we could start again at our new location in Addlestone, with new furniture and with as little junk as possible. The move was carried out by an external company and there were few problems. The new office is in a modern business park with many advantages over the old office, such as a functioning air conditioning system, which makes working much more pleasant.
I still live with the same host family, but we have a new roommate from France, who is doing a two-month internship in London. I get along very well with him. Looking back, I am glad that I chose a host family, because there is always something going on, which makes living together very varied.
The whole KV plus year went by very quickly, even if it is not quite over yet. I got to know great people and gained a lot of new experiences.
Benedikt reports from London
Half of my stay in England will be over soon. In the meantime, I have settled in very well to everyday life in England.
I still like the work very much. I got some new tasks, which are very interesting. For example, I am allowed to edit the intranet page of the finance department. I can fill it with new content, because so far, our intranet page has been quite blank and empty. Working on the Intranet is something completely new for me. Thanks to the Intranet Editor Help page, I was able to acquire and apply the required knowledge.
At the beginning of March, I could go on site with a work colleague. But it wasn't just any construction site, but our biggest project in London and probably in England; the Battersea Power Station. It used to be a power station which supplied the city of London with energy. Now it's going to be completely renovated and when this project is finished it will include offices, a shopping centre, a cinema and much more. It was very impressive to see the size of this site.
Our head office is in Weybridge, where I work. But we also have an office in London, more specifically in Canary Wharf, the business district of London. I had the opportunity to attend a meeting there, which was very exciting. The office building is a very modern high-rise in contrast to our head office.
I am still very happy with my host family. Since my last report, we had three new students again, which makes everyday life quite different. On weekends I often go to London or visit museums, most of which are free.
Last weekend I took the train to Bath Spa. As the name says this small town is famous for its natural hot spring. The city is located in the west of England, about 190 km away from London. I visited the Roman baths. Unfortunately, it was not possible to swim in the pool because it is a museum, but it was still very interesting. The whole city has many old and impressive buildings.
During my time here in England I would like to visit and explore many other cities. From London you have a good, mostly direct train or bus connection to almost everywhere, which makes it very easy to travel around.
I am looking forward to the second half of my stay here in England.
Benedikt reports from London
New year, new adventure; After my language and work stay in Geneva, the second part of my KV plus year began for me at the beginning of January.
In this half year I also live with a host family. The host family is very nice, it is a couple, both still working. They also have another student at the moment with whom I get along quite well.
The first two weeks I went full time to the language school, which is located in Central London in zone 1. Actually I live in zone 3 southwest of Central London. At school I met many other students from all over the world. I had 5 hours of English lessons per day, 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.
On my first weekend, I went with the other student from my host family to Brighton. Brighton is a very beautiful coastal city with some sights and attractions. What I liked most was the Brighton Pier and the beach.
After my two successful school weeks, I had my first working day at Schindler England. Our branch office is located southwest of London, in Weybridge. I travel by train, if there are no long delays or cancellations (from which I have been spared until now), it takes me about an hour and 15 minutes to get to work.
In the first week I was trained by Tamara, my predecessor. My main tasks are exporting reports from SAP and maintaining Excel tables. Now at the beginning these different reports are still a bit complicated, but with the help of the instructions I get along quite well. Some reports I have to do daily, some weekly and some only at the end of the month or at the beginning of the month.
Everyone in my team is very nice and helpful. At lunchtime we play pool together in the break room, which is a lot of fun and you get to know your colleagues from another side.
I am looking forward to the time here in England, which I still have in front of me.
Tamara reports from London
Each adventure comes to an end, but fortunately new ones will come up soon.
Sadly, my stay in England is nearly over and I am already planning for Lausanne (city in the French part of Switzerland). The Christmas time at home was awesome, without snow but it was still nice to see my whole family again. I spent New Year’s Eve in London because the world-famous firework around the London Eye took place. In my opinion, the firework here in England doesn’t compare to fireworks in Switzerland, it was enormous and unique.
It felt great to be back at work and in the year 2019 pool playing cannot be missed. Because of year-end closing we are all stressed. We set up the budget for 2019 and finalised the annual financial statement. I am still supporting wherever I can, and I try to make life easier for everyone. I am happy to be part of my team and I am already sad about leaving Schindler Ltd. soon.
I also had my English exam and it went alright, now I am just hoping that I passed. It was tough to take the whole exam in only one day. Finally, I am very happy that it is over. Earlier that day I went to the nursery with my host family’s grandchildren. We had a lot of fun and I was able to use my English all day long.
Additionally, we went to the church next door and sung some lovely Christmas songs and they told us the Christmas story. Now, I am able to sing jingles in English. Santa Claus also came by and some children were frightened of him.
Last weekend I went on a trip to Reading with a friend, because she won a weekend to somewhere she likes, and I was able to join her. We explored Reading, successfully found old ruins and walked along the Thames.
I am happy that I was already able to organise more or less everything for Lausanne. My accommodation is central and my French school as well.
As Schindler Ltd. will be moving in spring 2019, I am actually very happy to be able to gain further experience in Lausanne. Never the less, I met lovely people here and I am sad that this adventure is coming to an end. But I am already looking forward to going on skiing holiday and then finally to start in Lausanne.
Now I wish you all a Happy New Year! Let all your wishes come true.
Tamara reports from London
I’m happy to be allowed to report again.
I could participate in a very exciting finance meeting. It was interesting to see the actual figures in comparison with the budget. Depending on the project, for example, £10 has been budgeted and £7 has been needed so far. This means, we have got £3 left to spend until the end of the year. We have looked at projects on the NI (New Installations) / MOD (Modernization) side as well as on the EI (Existing Installations) side. Are there any critical projects etc.?
After this meeting I was able to think more networked, because I also got to know other projects. I also got an overview about my own job, and what effect my work actually has on the business.
My boss and I are currently optimizing a process. We want to automate a process with the help of the Manager Business Technology from Spain. Start-up runs have already been done, however we need to review everything before this new process can be implemented. This process involves customer data, such as customer number, address, etc., which is extracted from SAP using a report and then uploaded to our request system MIA. Furthermore, we try to automate more processes, which I do at the moment.
Among other things, I had to print over 600 invoices. There were some complications because the printer was not used to it. Recently, one of my colleagues called me the detective, because I always check everything and find errors in spreadsheets, that have already been created.
I have just started my new evening course to prepare for the Cambridge Certificate Advanced (CAE). I can profit a lot, but I also have to invest a lot myself. In respect of that, I am happy to have a weekend for myself and not have any visitors.
Meanwhile there were new students from Poland, Germany, Netherlands and England at my home. Because I am so busy with school and working, and because they usually leave after a few days, I don't really have a chance to get to know them well.
My classmates from KV Lucerne went to Bournemouth in the autumn holidays for a language stay, they came to visit me on a weekend and of course I was their tour guide.
I also went to watch a football match: Arsenal – Watford. The atmosphere was great. I also had to watch a gymnastics competition. The kids were great, I wished to be as athletic as them. While my family was visiting, we went to watch the Lion King musical together. It was marvellous! We also went to the Shard, where we had dinner and we had an awesome overview over London.
Now I enjoy the colder days and hope you do the same.
Tamara reports from London
The first month already flew by. I experienced the hottest England in decades. They have never had this and therefore also had no AC (air conditioning). The subways were horrible. (Many people + heat= nightmare).
I first attended an intensive language course in London City for two weeks and then started working for Schindler UK. I have changed my host family so that I am a little closer to my workplace. I am probably already known in the area as «Scooter-Girl», because I am often on the road with my scooter. During this 6 months I live with a host family, an elderly couple, which makes me feel well.
I can expand and improve my English in daily things such as washing, cooking, etc. besides my work. As I live with a host family and they also have other students with them, I have already met some people from different countries and cultures. This is fun and I find it very interesting. However, I am allowed to cook lunch and dinner for myself. I am creative when it comes to cooking and I do not need a cookbook. It takes my mind off things and I do not have time to think about, how much I miss my family and friends.
I like the work, but above all I like the team. To clear our heads at noon, we play Pool. I had never played this before and was therefore the «badest beginner», but I could already notice some improvements. On the first working day at noon I was surprised by loud music from outside. Since Schindler is a bit isolated, food trucks always come by, playing loud jingles to make it noticeable, this was unknown to me.
My hobbies, which are athletics, swing ring, gymnastics and team aerobics, I try to continue here. Unfortunately, not everything is possible and some sports I do not find in England. I found an athletics club where I train now and then. But my fitness program also includes swimming and jogging. My two host families were originally from Ireland, so I was able to get to know different sports. For example, Gaelic Football, Croke, but also traditionally Cricket.
Now a month has passed and I am looking forward to new challenges. I'll report again in two months. See you soon.