Life’s about journeys: experiences shape who we are and often they’re the most memorable part of achieving a goal, right? So what about the Trainee Programme, how is the journey to get in? I’ll tell you my experience.
I signed up to the Trainee programme at the very last minute: I had just graduated from university and worked in Prague – I didn’t enjoy commuting to work every day so Mlada Boleslav seemed unattractive to me. Still, after a month of procrastination, I updated my CV and sent it in. I did not think I was going to get a reply even – I did send it last minute, after all. A mail pops up on my laptop: SKODA AUTO would like me to start the interview process. Call me intrigued!
Time started running fast from that point on: I could hardly take a breath between completing language tests and arranging a personal interview. The recruiter was kind and even offered me a phone interview. The following day the phone rang at the agreed time, and we got started. At first I was afraid, I didn’t know what to expect, but the conversation was pleasant, and the nervousness fell off. In that hour we talked about my studies, work, foreign experiences, and last, but not least, my expectations of the Trainee programme and more. In conclusion, we agreed that due to the early closing date of the Assessment Center (AC) they would let me know about my success or failure the next day.
The following day I woke up full of expectation. I was watching the phone and prayed it wouldn’t ring when I was in the bathroom. Finally, the phone rang. The recruiter told me that I had been chosen among the Assessment Center participants. The only catch was that the AC was taking place in three days, so I got the necessary information, especially what, where, and when was it happening. At the end of the call, I was asked if I needed to arrange housing in Mlada Boleslav the day before the AC and she also invited me to meet the current Trainees – cool! The name of the event sounded promising, Pub before AC. For a moment, I wondered if it was a good idea to go to the pub the evening before the AC (which was going to start at 7.30 am): I needed to be ready for the next day. Nevertheless, the recruiter told me how good of an opportunity it was to go there, so I agreed. A few hours went by and the Trainee Team Leader contacted me to congratulate me for making it to the AC and to give me the details of the event. I was starting to look forward to it – it sounded great!
The meeting was in front of the SKODA AUTO dormitory at 6 pm. Only when I entered Mlada Boleslav I realized how big SKODA AUTO is (it’s definitely not just a complex of factory buildings surrounded by walls). Larger and smaller buildings of the company are spread all over the city: I could spot the winged arrow logo everywhere!
The time left until the meeting went by really, really, fast. I met the other candidates and Trainees and we went together to the pub. While we were getting to know each other, we heard that we were missing one candidate for the occasion (was she probably overcome by the fear that I had about sleeping well?). At the pub everyone was so nice, both the candidates and the old Trainees. We played a few games, got to know each other and chatted a lot – in English, of course. Although the Trainees could not tell us more about the whole AC process, they provided us at least with “guaranteed success” tips. Exactly this occasion left me feeling that I wanted to be part of all of it. I went in there as a skeptic, and I left thinking: "tomorrow it just has to turn out well!" We left the pub around 10 pm with an agreed meeting time for the following day. At night, I read articles about the automotive industry, new trends and the position of SKODA AUTO on the market: I felt prepared.
The D-day was here. I was surprised by how nervous I was feeling but I tried to get over it, relax and enjoy the whole day. We met with other candidates at the appointed time – I also got to meet the girl who slept in the night before. At the Assessment Center we found snacks, drinks and coffee – thank God, coffee! The atmosphere was relaxed and the all-day merry-go-round begun spinning. We got information about the whole day and worked on the assigned tasks. We tried to fill the pauses with encouraging conversation: it really helped, especially after lunch when I felt sleepy and I felt like I couldn’t keep up the pace until the evening. About 6 o'clock in the afternoon, it seemed the worst was behind. We just had to wait for the final step: one by one, we would be called to hear the final verdict.
And that’s where I heard some words I’ll never forget: “YOU MEET CONDITIONS FOR BEING ACCEPTED BETWEEN TRAINEES.” Yeah! And not only that, I also got to know what my strengths and weaknesses were during the day: that was great, I was never given such thorough and constructive feedback (except for parents and teachers J).
We left the building. At the beginning of the day we were just individuals, at the end of it we were a team: the Trainees team. We took the obligatory selfie to have a memory, people called home to celebrate and the finally said goodbye: our common annual adventure had just begun.
Kateřina Velechovská – Trainee