Meet Aida Merušić – one of the current Trainees at ŠKODA AUTO’s Trainee Programme. Aida comes from Fojnica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Financial Management at School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo. The following interview discusses Aida’s Trainee Programme experience so far.
What attracted you to join the ŠKODA AUTO Trainee Programme?
At the time, I was searching for a job opportunity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and did not plan to move abroad again. One day, I saw a Facebook ad for the ŠKODA AUTO Trainee Programme and immediately clicked on it. I was already sold on the brand since it is very popular in my home country and I also have a personal experience with it – my family owns one and I have been driving it as well. The final decision to apply for the programme came after I saw the benefits that it offers – the possibility to work in different departments of such a brand, to be part of Trainee project teams, to attend trainings and events, to attend language classes, all packed in an international community. I have to say that I have not regretted my decision for a second and it has been an amazing experience to be part of the Trainee Programme.
The benefit of the Trainee Programme is that one can experience working in different departments. What departments did you work in as a Trainee?
My Trainee journey started in September last year and I had four job rotations so far. My job rotation plan is focused on departments related to sales: Sales Western Europe, Sales Planning and Reporting, Sales Controlling and Business Development. The advantage of rotations is that they give a big picture of the processes, interconnection between departments and I had the chance to work with the top management in some of them. It allowed me to see how ŠKODA AUTO cooperates with importers, how it develops the dealer network and makes it eMobility ready, how long-term sales planning is done and how it aligns with the VW GROUP strategy. It is exciting to work during a shift towards electric vehicles in the automotive industry; especially since ŠKODA AUTO will launch its newest fully electric model ENYAQ iV.
As a former leader of the CSR Trainee project team, can you tell us if there were any CSR activities during the peak outbreak of COVID-19?
I am proud to say that ŠKODA AUTO Trainees are always ready to lend a hand to the community. We are constantly searching for new ideas and activities to participate in. It was no different during the COVID-19 outbreak. There was a shortage of masks in the beginning and many people started making their own. The City of Brandýs nad Labem in cooperation with TOM Veverk organised production of disposable masks at a local elementary school. Trainees joined this activity for three days and together with other volunteers, we produced over 6.000 disposable masks much faster than estimated. They were distributed to those who needed them the most, namely doctors, nurses, firefighters and seniors.
As part of the Trainee Programme experience, you already had a chance to work at a ŠKODA AUTO dealership in your home country. How was it?
I worked in the ŠKODA-exclusive dealership in Sarajevo. It allowed me to learn more about the Bosnian car market and the position of ŠKODA AUTO within it. I was able to see the sales process in action, how the Human Touch elements are applied. Since I already rotated to departments related to sales, the dealership experience was the last piece of the puzzle, the place where the magic happens and where a customer decides to buy our car. To me it was exciting to see the handing over of a brand new ŠKODA car to the customer. I knew that behind it was a long process and that so many things had to come together to make it happen.
Finally, how do you find living in the Czech Republic as a foreigner?
Moving to a different country can be challenging, but I cannot say that I experienced a cultural shock or major surprises when I moved to the Czech Republic. I was happy to learn that many people here lead a very active lifestyle. Spending as much time as possible in nature and doing different sports is part of the routine. Naturally, the Trainee community follows this trend. We often play sports, go for trips and hikes over the weekend. Mladá Boleslav is a fairly small city but it has the ideal location for these types of trips. Our usual destinations are somewhere in Český ráj and Krkonoše Mountains. It is the perfect way to recharge for the upcoming working week. Czechs appreciate the effort to speak their language and are willing to help foreigners to learn it. Besides making everyday life easier, knowing the language allows immersing fully into the culture. The country has a rich history and there are so many things to discover and to learn about.
Interviewed by Mindaugas Kanapickas, Trainee – Engine Development EA211