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Welcome to Eckernförde – punker trainees host refugee interns

Each of the 22 punker trainees will host an intern who came to the Eckernförde area as a refugee and hope to find a new home here. Today, we welcomed the first six interns who will spend the next two weeks with us at the punker headquarters.

“Typically German”, one might say: after greeting our new interns, we started the day off with a safety briefing. Our training manager Svenja Wriedt explained the regulations  for the prevention of industrial accidents.  After this compulsory agenda item, we did a round of introductions. Each trainee and each intern introduced themselves and wrote down what is important to them at work. We realized we have great deal in common: we all agree that nice co-workers and having fun are the most important factors for feeling comfortable at work. Other key factors are accuracy and safety. The latter giving the cue for the next item on the agenda: handing out the safety shoes. Fully equipped, we started off on a tour of the plant with our production manager Markus Oberle. Our six interns took the opportunity to question Mr Oberle about our products and our assembly and production machines. They were amazed to hear that almost all of them are being designed and set up by our own employees. To give them time to digest the flood of information, we called it a day around noon. We will all meet our interns again tomorrow morning and escort them to their workplaces.

Each of us will attend to an intern during the entire two weeks of their internship at punker and function as a mentor to them. The social-integrative internship is supposed to find answers to the question “What is work like in Germany and especially in a manufacturing, medium-sized company?”.  And to help our interns find a job in their new home, of course. When looking through the internship applications, we noticed that a lot of applicants had professional qualifications or experience they could put to work at punker. Ambesajur Desale Asfaw from Eritrea is about to get his fork-lift license and looks forward to testing his driving skills in our logistics department as soon as he passes the exam. My intern Nosheirwan Omar worked as a an executive engineer in his homeland of Syria and his university degree was recognized by the chamber of engineers and architects in Schleswig-Holstein just now. Over the next two weeks he will get to know our R&D, design and quality management departments. He plans to go to graduate school in Northern Germany to get his master’s degree in engineering after passing another high standard German language course.

Our HR director Felix Hegmann accurately called this integration project a “Welcome to refugees by the small- and medium-sized enterprise in Northern Germany”. But to us, it is a lot more than that. We consider it an opportunity for all of us at punker to broaden our horizon and increase awareness for and understanding of the integration of people who came here in hopes of finding a new and safe home. We especially look forward to the personal interaction and exchange with “our” interns and hope to learn a few things, for example about the differences between everyday work life here and in their home country. To give our colleagues the opportunity to partake in this project, each trainee will write a report about the internship together with their intern which will be published in our employee magazine “aufwind” and on the punker Blog.


Outstanding trainees

On September 21, 2016, the Chamber of Industry an Commerce Kiel invited us to graduation ceremony to honor the outstanding achievements of trainees and their apprenticing companies.  As punker’s Human Resources Manager, I accompanied our graduate Kevin Salten, who completed his vocational training as an industrial mechanic between August 2013 and June 2016, and our vocational training manager Joachim Peetz to the ceremony. Kevin Salten achieved an overall score of 94 out of 100 points and was awarded the top grade “1”.

A total of 44 graduates of various occupations and from different companies were being honored. Kevin’s colleague Tobias Huth, who completed his vocational training as industrial mechanic together with Kevin,  achieved a similar dream result of 92 points and was awarded the top grade “1” as well. Tobias Huth will continue his school education to gain the entrance qualification to attend an advanced technical colleges. Luckily for us, he decided to continue working for punker’s quality department as temporary staff.

It is a solemn moment when young men and women proudly accept their certificates and realize: I made it! Vocational training completed. The grade is not the most important thing, being content with your own achievement is what counts. You don’t study for our employer or our parents, your doing it for yourself and your own future. Nevertheless, two trainees of the same class achieving top grades and finishing their training half a year early is a real cause for celebration.

punker was being honored as well as an outstanding apprenticing company: „In recognition of exeptional services in vocational training, the Chamber of Industry an Commerce Kiel presents punker with this certificate.” Particular thanks are due to our vocational training manager for his extraordinary efforts: Joachim Peetz has been part of the punker crew since 1978 and is co-resonsible for the prudential, quality-oriented  vocational training of our industrial/technical trainees. Thus, this honor award is also the result of dedicated and extroardinary professional training work for which thanks are due to all those who contribute to the vocational training: co-workers, team managers and especially Joachim Peetz. But no matter how good the coach, the trainee has to really want to excel. With a lot of dedication by the trainee and a high training quality, the course for a successfull career start is laid. In this case, it all came together nicely.

We congratulate two more trainees on their graduation: Tore Peetz and Jana Nissen have successfully completed their vocation training as industrial management assistants this summer. Tore Peetz continues to work for punker’s order center while Jana Nissen found a job at a close-by trading firm.

Both our training manager Joachim Peetz and I are on the board of examiners at the Chamber of Industry an Commerce Kiel and are therefore responsible for examining and grading the trainees from our chamber’s district.


punker welcomes nine new trainees

The Freshmen

Today on September 1, nine new trainees start their careers at punker. The training year usually starts on August 1, but we all remember how nerve-racking final exams can be. That is why we decided to grant our new colleagues one last summer vacation before life starts getting serious. So today, these well-rested clever minds start their apprenticeships at punker:

Industrial Management Assistants: Industrial Mechanics: Mechatronics Technician:
Jannik Pick (19)
Jana Grawe (20)
Christoph Jürgensen (20)
Erik Thiesen (18)
Marc Ehret (18)
Timo Schulz (19)
Eletronics Technician Technical Product Designers
Sergej Yan-Fa (21) Johanna Kemper (19)
Philip Keding (21)

A warm welcome to our new trainees!

Our freshmen’s first day at punker started exeptionally late at 10:30 am (thanks to flexible work schedules, working at punker is compatible with any kind of sleep habits, really). They were greeted by our Managing Director Dr. Bähren and a welcome committee made up of the training managers, team leaders and “old” trainees. After a round of introductions, the new trainees were equipped with their trainee binders and workwear before they started of to the trainee-operated “punker Shop” for a shopping spree.

Clothed in punker polo shirts, tshirts or longsleeves, they revealed themselves as “the new ones” during the following tour of the premises. The industrial trainees were introduced to their future departments such as manufacturing, tooling and design by their training manager Joachim Peetz, while the commerical trainees were lead through purchasing, sales, order center and accounting by their training managers Felix Hegmann and Svenja Wriedt. This way, each trainee knows where they will start work the next morning.

We didn’t want them to be overwhelmed on their first day, so we let them call it a day at 2:30 pm – which is half an hour before core time ends, by the way.

The first months as a trainee at punker

The trainee binder they received on their first day includes a personal training schedule for the first year of training at punker. Until christmas, the commercial trainees Jana, Jannik and Christoph will tour departments which aren’t really part of their training: manufacturing, R&D, the warehouse and quality management. This way they will gain a an impressions of what punker acutally does and it will help them get a better understanding of how their work contributes to the big picture. When they get back from christmas vacation, they will start working in the commercial departments such as purchasing, sales & marketing, order center and accounting for periods of 3 to 4 months each. The industrial trainees spend the first 4 weeks at the training workshop of the nearby Lürssen shipyard, where they learn the basics of the craft before they start off in the respective departments at punker. The on-the-job training is complemented by vocational schooling – while the commerical trainees spent periods of 4 to 6 weeks in school, the commercial trainees have one or two school days per week.


Partners Together

connECKt with punker

punker supports the students’ company connECKt, which advocates the integration of refugees into German society. The cookbooks “Grenzenloses Backen” (Baking without Borders) and “Grenzenloses Kochen” (Cooking without Borders) are now available at the punker Shop.

punker and the  Jungmann School in Eckernförde have been working together for many years to provide students insights into working life at a medium-sized local business. When the school’s 11th grade students founded the student company “connECKt”, they contacted punker to discuss how we could support them in running their business. connECKt.

In December 2015, just in time for Christmas, connECKt published their first cookbook “Grenzenloses Backen”. The recipes where gathered during regular cooking events with refugees from the Eckernförde region. Yogurt Cookies, Arabic Clove-and-Almond Biscuits, Chestnut Pie and sweet cake can be easily reproduced at home. The cookbook also includes tantalizing stories from distant cultures and the experiences refugees made on their long and often strenuous journey to Germany.

In April, 2016, the second cookbook “Grenzenloses Kochen” was published.  On 121 pages, recipes for appetizers, main courses and desserts can be found, supplemented by facts about the country of origin. Icons indicate the level of difficulty and whether the recipe is vegetarian or gluten free. New stories and pictures taken at the cooking events make this a diverting read.

The students took care of the research, layout and distribution of both books independently – with financial support from local sponsors. The 50-page baking book is being sold for 6,90 Euro and the 121-page cook book for 15,90 Euro at local businesses such as book stores, delis or farmer’s and fish markets.

We are happy to support this inspiring project by selling the books to our employees through our in-house “punker Shop”. The punker Shop is organized by our trainees and sells apparel and other articles like USB-Power Banks from the punker collection.

We look forward to working with connECKt and will keep you updated on this great students’ project.