Nurturing talent, shaping the future

An interview on junior staff development and corporate culture

Published 02/22/2024

We offer a variety of job training programs for future IT specialists. Our company is also a partner for dual studies programs in industrial engineering, commercial computer sciences and informatics. In this interview, training manager Carina Lanzinger offers us insights into our training program and tells us how important a trip to the countryside can be.

Nurturing talent, shaping the future

How does our training program reflect our values and corporate culture?

Carina Lanzinger:From our recruiting process onwards, we put a great deal of emphasis on personal aspects and make sure that our new hires fit into our value system. For us, the most important aspects are motivation and excitement about IT topics.

We want to impart our DNA to them right from the beginning, and that’s why we initiated our mentoring program. Right after our trainees and dual university students sign their training contracts, we pair them with mentors from a higher training year or semester. Our partnership approach really becomes evident here: from the initial onboarding process on, our new talent feels integrated into our company, they can ask questions and maybe drop by their future colleagues for a coffee and a chat.

The great thing is that the mentoring program doesn’t end when they move on to practical training. It just keeps going. This direct interpersonal exchange doesn’t just help them prepare for their exams, it’s valuable in many other respects as well. And the mentors enjoy sharing their knowhow, earning trust and taking personal responsibility for our newbies.

Is there some aspect of training that’s particularly dear to your heart as training manager?

Carina Lanzinger:This may sound a trifle banal, but for me the most important thing is that our trainees and students enjoy their training courses and like coming to work here every day. As training manager, I believe it’s my job to do the groundwork for that. People are more motivated, more committed and better performers if they like doing what they do.

I want to get our trainees and students off to a good career start and encourage them to stay with us long-term. Because that’s our goal: training for keeps. And it’s why we value high-quality training and education so much. It lets us groom excellent team colleagues, and it prepares us for future challenges because young people bring us new ways of looking at things. It’s a fresh breeze not just for the individual teams, but for CENIT as a whole.

Let’s have a closer look at our training program. What are the first days like for trainees and students at the company?

Carina Lanzinger:We always start with an onboarding phase that lasts at least two weeks. All the junior staff who start with us first meet up at our Stuttgart HQ, giving them a chance to get to know each other. Then, once we’ve dealt with the organizational aspects and worked out their questions about how we do what we do, we go on a trip together. We do this every year. Usually, we go to the Black Forest for teambuilding activities like archery and tarte flambé baking. It’s nice to see how the group grows into a close-knit unit. You just need to spend some time in the country and soon it all falls into place.

That sounds fun and exciting. But how do you then integrate them into our teams so that they gain practical experience?

Carina Lanzinger:Back at HQ, we run additional training courses to show them how we operate on the ground. And then the trainees join the individual teams, bit by bit. Apart from getting them up to speed in terms of technical knowhow, our top priority is to fully integrate them into our workflows. There are no fictitious projects, only the real thing. And, of course, they have to have the right level of support.

One example of this is our topics marketplace, where our staffers can post projects or sub-tasks that they need help on. The trainees or students select items that interest them and then go to work on them together with the people who flagged them. As their level of expertise grows, they can take on more sophisticated tasks and gain more and more experience. It also helps them develop their personal network within the company.

That sounds like a steep learning curve! What role does personal development play in our training program?

Carina Lanzinger: It’s very important to us that we groom our trainees and students in accordance with their specific strengths. In this context, an important role falls to the feedback interviews that we hold twice a year. This is where we learn about the direction the respective person wants to pursue, what topics interest them and where they may need more assistance.

The interviews also let us describe concrete “dream projects” that they may be able to take on in future. And the feedback format is very important in terms of their personal development within the company. For example, industrial engineering is a course of study that lets you go in many different directions, and that’s why it’s important to keep talking about interests and strengths to help these candidates find the ideal place within our company.

Teamwork often contributes a great deal to personal development. How do the different training and study programs work together?

Carina Lanzinger:In addition to our mentoring program, we organize regular events that give the trainees and students the opportunity to talk with colleagues from other units. We want them to see the larger picture and work on things that affect all of us. Right now, for instance, we’re planning to set up a room where they can meet for a few games of foosball and talk shop.

We also regularly host internal “Meet the CEO” events which give our junior IT talent a chance to have open and informal discussions with our CEO. He likes to devote plenty of time to these exchanges, which demonstrates his appreciation of their work and gives them the opportunity to ask questions. Each of these events has its very own dynamic, and that makes them special for everyone.

Many thanks for speaking to us about our training program!


How our IT trainees experience their education

In conversation with Carina Lanzinger, we learned a lot about the training program and the development of young talent. Of course, we also wanted to know first-hand how the trainees and dual students experience their time at the company. So we asked them directly.

How did you experience your first time at the company?

When I first joined the team, it was a challenge to find my way around. But I was well supported and directly involved in many tasks, which is really fun.

Leonie Rommel
Dual student business engineering

Studying and everyday working life at the company are certainly often very different. How are your practical phases organised?

Due to the alternating three-month practical and theoretical phases, I am integrated into the team processes as normal, but above all I take on my own tasks, which I can drive forward independently. What I learn at university also helps me in a very concrete way.

Jonas Pfingstag
Dual student informatics

How do you experience the preparation for the next steps in the company shortly before the end of your apprenticeship?

As well as receiving good support with my final project, I'm finding that I'm being given more responsibility step by step.For example, I expressed the wish to get more involved with Linux.As a result, I was allowed to prepare and offer a workshop on this topic for trainees. For me, it was a special experience and something I really appreciated.

Julian Schirm
Trainee information specialist, systems integration

Contact person

Selina Kalbfell

Selina Kalbfell

Communications Manager

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