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Searching for an employer - Packaging Technology students are spoilt for choice
“We usually get hired,“ summarises Shahin Rastizadeh, a student of process technology with a major in paper and packaging at the University of Munich. The 26-year-old is in the process of completing his bachelor thesis. He found the company for his thesis because his girlfriend sometimes babysits the children of his current boss. However, Rastizadeh it would not have needed the babysitting connection at all. Even before the university employment fair, almost 150 companies had contacted him.
It is not always that the companies come to the universities. Sometimes professors take their students to congresses and trade fairs. The packaging engineers from Leipzig visited interpack in Düsseldorf for three days. Munich professor Martin Angerhöfer thinks it is even more effective if the companies present themselves at the university by giving professional presentations. “These presentations should not just focus on the company, but also on the career opportunities in that company,” says Angerhöfer. “However, it is best to visit the companies themselves, with lectures and presentations on site.”
The students confirm that the excursions to the companies are particularly helpful for their career choice. “Being on site is the best thing, because we can truly imagine working there,” says Julia Strathaus, Leipzig University of Applied Sciences. She is also very enthusiastic about the fact that her professor, who has many good industry contacts, integrates examples of practical application into his lectures. “This way we get an excellent idea of the variety of work available.”
Professor Ingo Sabotka, Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, emphasises than a “certain persistence factor” is important. “A company that takes on interns from Berlin on a more or less regular basis and maybe has invited some of the packaging engineers for job interviews or has even hired them remains in the collective memory of our students for many years and will be contacted readily." He also adds that it is important to take the students seriously and to look for their future potential.
Another advertising opportunity is close cooperation within a course of study. Some of the events in Munich are held by lecturers who work full-time in the field of packaging technology. In Berlin, companies supply projects to university courses, often followed up by internships and final papers. Add to this design competitions that are “well accepted by our students,” says Professor Sabotka.
In this connection, Ms. Schulze with the Career Office in Leipzig mentions a competition sponsored by a packaging and display manufacturer. Here students from Leipzig, Stuttgart, the Dutch City of Delft, and Worcester, United Kingdom, are competing against each other. The award is integrated into the programme of studies and is included in the module “Presenting and Illustrating”, says Schulze. She specifically praises the hands-on conditions. “It is great to have an idea about what will happen later on at work.”
At the University of Applied Sciences in Kempten, a packaging technology course integrates an advanced practical component, and students are paid a trainee wage. “The companies could expand on this,” states Professor Markus Prem. The students work during the holidays and get to know all processes in the company before graduating. “By doing this, the companies secure for themselves a supply of new blood. This is a win-win situation.”
Another option for direct contact is the new Germany bursary. One half of this bursary is sponsored by a company. In Leipzig, a female packaging technology student was one of the recipients. As particularly qualified student, Julia Strathaus does not only receive € 300 per month, but also has the opportunity to get her feet wet in the corporate world through her sponsor.
Conventional ways of approach include the publication of internships and job offers on notice boards. In Munich they are actually still being displayed in a display cabinet, reports Professor Heinz Ziegler. The notice board at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin is online and uses pdf files. Kempten offers a separate university homepage, where companies can offer internships, graduate and bachelor theses and available jobs.
Some professors think that the financial support could be better. “Certainly, compensation is important for young people, in particular during internships,” says Sabotka. The idea to supply tangible means our funding to universities is not yet well developed in Germany, according to Angerhöfer. He adds that the universities unfortunately only have very restricted funds available. “We as professors are very much open to cooperation.”
- Berlin: Beuth Hochschule für Technik
- Leipzig: Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur
- München: Hochschule München (HM), Verfahrenstechnik, Papier und Verpackung
- Kempten: Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften
- Dresden: TU - Institut für Verarbeitungsmaschinen und Mobile Arbeitsmaschinen