What it’s like to do a Management Traineeship at Pon

My name is Astrid Vos and I’ve been working as a Management Trainee at Pon since the 1st of September 2017. The traineeship is made up of 4 assignments at various Pon businesses, whereby you are given plenty of scope to decide for yourself how to complete your assignments. I would like to take you on a day in the life of a trainee: my first day on a new project.

A New Project

It’s Monday morning, the start of a new week and a new trainee project. I’m excited because I’m going to a new – for me anyway – Pon business. Last week, I completed my first trainee project at Royal Dutch Gazelle, where I immersed myself in the world of bicycles for 6 months. I met nice colleagues there and was part of a pioneering bicycle manufacturer. The project I worked on was intended to optimize the bicycle returns process. It was a specific project that the Talent Development Manager had expertly selected for me based on the trainee selection process and my personal preferences. It was a project that suited me down to a tee, allowing me to learn a great deal and work hard on my personal development points. I still remember my supervisor’s words during the evaluation: “You should be a little more determined in your actions.” It was very useful feedback that I could take into my next project.

A New Environment

And here I am, at the entrance to another Pon company. On to a new six-month project, in a new environment, with a new project supervisor and new colleagues. Or as we say at Pon, a ‘new business.’ I walk into the building and report to reception. The receptionist gives me a warm welcome and hands me my access badge. This is the start of my immersion in the automotive world, the world of Czech automobile manufacturer ŠKODA to be precise. Wondering whether I know a thing or two about cars? I don’t, but I’m very eager to learn all about this business. I’m going to be working here as a project manager and contribute to the opening of a ŠKODA city store. The city store is a new format to showcase ŠKODA cars in city centers, aside from the traditional out-of-town dealerships.  It’s the first of its kind in Europe! It is a project that calls for a determined approach, which makes it ideally suited and useful to me. The deadline has been set and we will be working toward it as a team. I’m pumped for it.

A New Department

From reception, I walk over to my new department. I know the way. I arranged this second project myself and visited my new project supervisor here on various occasions. When I get to the department, I spot my supervisor right away. He, too, gives me a warm welcome and then directs me to the meeting room. It’s time for the department’s start-of-the-week meeting. I sit down and introduce myself. This is a great opportunity for me to hear what everyone is working on at the department. I instantly feel very welcome at the company. This is the second Pon business I set foot in and I am instantly treated as a fully-fledged ŠKODA employee.

New Colleagues

At the end of the day, as I walk down the hall, I hear someone call out my name. Down the hall, I see a fellow trainee. A familiar face. “Astrid, how was your first day?” It is great to run into him here. He’s working on a project for one of the other car brands. We have known each other from the beginning. I was hired at the same time as he was, along with five other trainees. Ever since the selection process, we have seen and spoken to each other regularly, both during office hours and at after-work drinks. I briefly catch up with him and promise to tell him more about my project at next week’s peer review session with the five other trainees. “Great, I’ll also fill you in on my project then,” he replies. The peer review sessions offer an excellent opportunity to share experiences, to hear what everyone is working on and where we can be of help to each other. I already look forward to next week to discuss my project with them. In fact, I can do with some help from my brainy fellow trainees. After all, why struggle doing it all on your own when you can also do it together?

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