In 2006, in the course of a dualisation of the year of vocational preparation I had the opportunity to do a one year internship with Schmidt GmbH. At that time it was rather difficult to deal with me and my future career was going downhill. Nevertheless Schmidt GmbH gave me a chance to change myself by offering me a training as process engineer for plastic and rubber. I took up this opportunity immediately and commenced my training there in August 2007.

Even during the first two years of my training my general attitude to work was not really good and the level of maturity was correspondingly low. However, my attitude changed fundamentally during the third year, and I realised that it's time to do something.

After successfully completing my training in 2010, Schmidt offered me a permanent contract of employment. I was very thankful and accepted it. At the same time I registered for an extra occupational further training as foreman for plastic technology. Schmidt supported me here and gave me the opportunity to attend these courses (once a week and once on weekends) in spite of shift work.

Up to 2012 I worked there as fitter for injection moulding machines and/or thermoset injection moulders. The work at Schmidt was largely based on manual work and I was very much interested in automation.

Due to this, but also for personal reasons, I approached Utz GmbH in Schüttorf with an unsolicited application. I had learnt a lot about this company during my further training. After 2 weeks I was called for a job interview and soon after that an offer for a temporary employment as machine operator followed. I accepted this, as I could see a chance for growth and wanted to take it.

My shift supervisor realised that with my good training I was totally underchallenged as a machine operator. He gave me the chance to work as co-fitter on the machines and robots. My interest in automation attracted attention and there it increased even more. This led to my being offered a permanent position as fitter in 2014.

During a company event in 2014 I approached my superiors and expressed my interest in an exchange with the works in the USA. He said that an exchange with the USA would not be possible right now. However Utz is looking for 2 experts for the People's Republic of China for a period of 2 years, who would have to execute the corporate planning there and subsequently train the employees on site. I thought over it for 2 weeks and then decided to take this big step.

After a year’s training I was all set for a long term stay in China. During the first 3 months the project manager appreciated my ambition and my willingness to work. At that time Utz required a production head in China. I spoke to him about my being keen on taking up this position, and he finally helped me to do so.

Since 2015 I am the production head in China and responsible for 6 departments. I am quite excited about my future prospects. Schmidt has contributed to my career significantly, and I am thankful to them for it. They did not give up on me and even when it was not quite easy, they channelled my attitude towards many areas in the right direction.

During the training I learnt to value the immediate, adequate operation, due to which technical understanding and my attitude towards work was put on the right track. I could also implement all my basic knowledge in practice, as that time there were no clear delimitations regarding different departments (e.g. production, tool shop, AV) in a small company. This enables an in-depth working knowledge in every area. Things which are unimaginable or simply impossible to execute for a trainee, such as alteration of a tool, become very obvious to someone who has learnt his vocation in a small company. Likewise the capacity to improvise also increases, as the perfect resources to solve every problem are not always directly available.

Thus here it is quite normal to solve this problem yourself; whereas an employee in a large company would have to pass it one to another department. Due to a lot of support and backing there were hardly any problems even in the theoretical part.

Thus, at Schmidt I could learn the following skills, which in retrospect have simplified my entire working life till now and which substantially shape my career progression even today: Metal processing (manual processing machines: Milling machine, lathe, etc... Setting up injection moulding machines (special procedure to inject thermoset) Setting up thermoset pressing (due to which one acquires knowledge of many hydraulic presses in other areas; as well as new and old models) Basic knowledge about quality assurance Sense of responsibility (by supervising shifts, etc.)

The ability to improvise (one becomes 100% busy quite fast, and is not introduced to challenging tasks with hesitation, as is often the case in large companies) Basic knowledge of automation Basic knowledge about management of employees comprehensive knowledge of theory (due to great support)

Martin Reider, Head of Production & Quality Dept. Georg Utz Materials Handling (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. 19.05.2016, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province

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