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4Th December 2017

Trainee On the Road: Tremendous Chinese Experience

My name is Christian Karl. I am an international Skoda Trainee from Germany and I want to give you a short overview about my 2-month foreign rotation in SVW in China.

“This is China”. This was the most used sentence during my stay in China. Sometimes positive. Sometimes negative. Sometimes funny.

I arrived in the beginning of July at 6 am in Shanghai and it had already 30 degree. This was the minimum temperature (including nights!) I saw during my stay. But this is China. If you see a whole family driving with gloves, jackets and face masks on one roller in the opposite direction on a big street you just shake your head and say: This is China.

My stay at SAIC-Volkswagen was divided in two parts. The first month I stayed in the central Body Shop Planning department in Shanghai. The second half of my rotation a stayed in the plant in Ninbo under supervision of different department leaders to learn all processes of the Ramp Up and production of the SKODA KAROQ in China.

I had my own project. Therefore, I had to develop a project plan, leading logistic workshops, gathering information from different departments and specify the potential and impacts of these new concepts. Moreover, I installed a Know-How transfer with colleagues in Wolfsburg. Parallel to my main project I got an overview about the status of the projects in SVW and visited Shop Floor meetings and suppliers. I got an introduction of the planning department including half-day stay in each team.

One way to drive back to the hotel after work is renting yellow bikes on every corner. Take them and leave them wherever you want. And this for only 1 RMB (3 CZK). You just need an app to scan a barcode. The company exist only for 2 years but has already 1 million bikes only in Shanghai. This is China.

The second part of the international rotation was a stay at the car plant in Ninbo. During these 3 weeks stay I got to know various departments connected with the Ramp Up of the KAROQ. The visited departments were Quality, Press Shop Production, Body Shop Production, Paint Shop Production, Assembly Shop Production, Ramp Up Management, Pilot Hall and Body Shop Planning. This gave me a good overview about the production in a standard Volkswagen plant and all processes connected with a ramp up in a Greenfield factory.

Greenfield means building a factory somewhere in Nowhere. After spending 4 weeks in the never sleeping center of Shanghai, I spend 3 weeks in a typical Chinese suburb which was built in 2 years out of nothing. You can find a shopping mall, a hotel and 30 tall apartment houses. 5 years ago this area was part of the sea. This is China.

During the weekends, I tried to explore the landscape of China. These trips were amazing. I slept on the Great Wall, hiked 2 days through the rain forest, climbed the top of the Yellow Mountains and met cool people from different countries in the world.

Overall I had a great time in China. I am glad that the Skoda Trainee program gave me the opportunity to explore a completely different world in addition to gain more work experience.

Oh and people do not use an umbrella for rain but for sun. They want to keep their skin as white as possible. This is China.

Christian, Trainee


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