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2017

#zftrainees

Two Approaches, one Goal

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Tags: TraineeCommunity, Careers
In the 15-month ZF Global Trainee Program, participants will become acquainted with work at ZF, rise to the challenges of a daily work routine, apply the knowledge gained during studies to successfully complete international projects and start a promising career at a highly-innovative automotive company.
ZF Trainees, June 26, 2017
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ZF Trainees are a group of young people taking part in the ZF Global Trainee Program. In the #traineeblog they give insights about the life as a ZF Trainee.
One of the major decisions you will face during the trainee program is where to make your project abroad as the possibilities are countless; well, maybe not countless but given that ZF has around 230 locations in some 40 countries it is certainly not an easy decision. Generally speaking the process is similar to the acquisition of your projects within Germany but of course on a whole different scale. Basically, there are two ways to approach this part of the program, illustrated in the graph below: (1) find the department of your interest and see in which countries it is located, referred to as the department approach, or (2) choose your preferred ZF location and see which departments and project opportunities they can offer, thus known as the location approach.

Basically, there are two ways to approach this part of the program: Find the department of your interest and see in which countries it is located, or choose your preferred ZF location.

In my opinion both approaches are equally good since the focus of the trainee program is not only on the improvement of your professional but also your cultural and social skills. And in the end – no matter which approach you choose – you will always develop on all levels.
As one can see, both approaches differentiate only in the first two steps; they are simply reversed. However, as soon as you have decided in which department and in which country you want to make your project abroad it is time to get more in-depth regarding the opportunities.

At first, you will have to find and contact the person responsible. Fortunately, we not only have access to the knowledge of a multitude of former trainees but also our ‘TrainetWorld’ document which contains the ZF locations along with contact persons and a register of former trainees who work(ed) at the respective site.
Finding a project is for the most part pretty easy since we are highly qualified and free of charge. I like to think that the first characteristic is the decisive factor. This however brings me to step 4: ask, ask, ask! Scrutinize the project’s tasks, goals, scope and background to make sure your project will challenge and excite you at the same time. When both you and your future supervisor feel that this might be a good match it is time to really get into planning mode. This means: fix the timeframe, find an apartment, book the flights, get away and enjoy!
Generally speaking the process is similar to the acquisition of your projects within Germany but of course on a whole different scale. Basically, there are two ways to approach this part of the program, illustrated in the graph below: (1) find the department of your interest and see in which countries it is located, referred to as the department approach, or (2) choose your preferred ZF location and see which departments and project opportunities they can offer, thus known as the location approach. In my opinion both approaches are equally good since the focus of the trainee program is not only on the improvement of your professional but also your cultural and social skills. And in the end – no matter which approach you choose – you will always develop on all levels.
As one can see, both approaches differentiate only in the first two steps; they are simply reversed. However, as soon as you have decided in which department and in which country you want to make your project abroad it is time to get more in-depth regarding the opportunities.
At first, you will have to find and contact the person responsible. Fortunately, we not only have access to the knowledge of a multitude of former trainees but also our ‘TrainetWorld’ document which contains the ZF locations along with contact persons and a register of former trainees who work(ed) at the respective site.
Finding a project is for the most part pretty easy since we are highly qualified and free of charge. I like to think that the first characteristic is the decisive factor. This however brings me to step 4: ask, ask, ask! Scrutinize the project’s tasks, goals, scope and background to make sure your project will challenge and excite you at the same time. When both you and your future supervisor feel that this might be a good match it is time to really get into planning mode. This means: fix the timeframe, find an apartment, book the flights, get away and enjoy!
By the way, I went for the location approach and for me it certainly was the right decision! I’m currently working at ZF Marine in Miramar, Florida. Here’s a small impression of the sunset in Key West, I experienced last weekend.
Cheers,
Timo