Report on the BUHLMANN Apprentice Days by Wiebke Pudeg, apprentice whole sale and export merchant, Duisburg (Germany)

My name is Wiebke Pudek and I am 19 years old. I started my apprenticeship as a wholesales and foreign trade clerk at Buhlmann on the 1st August of 2015.

The BAD’s started on the 3rd August of 2015 in Bremen. Early in the morning, all apprentices of Duisburg met each other at the train station to go to Bremen. At our arrival in the Courtyard by the Marriott Hotel we were welcomed by our trainers from Bremen and Duisburg and also got to meet all the other new apprentices of this year while we were eating lunch together. Afterwards we drove to the youth hostel where we arranged our rooms. In the meeting room of the hostel, the Head of Human Resources introduced us to the company BUHLMANN. Later on we went out for a drink to the so called Schlachte and got to experience a small sightseeing tour. This was our first exciting day.

On Tuesday morning we started a new interesting day being well-nourished. We learned about the rights and obligations of apprentices and the general conditions of the apprenticeship like working hours. Moreover we learnt about the order processing process and all departments of the company were presented to us. In small groups we were preparing our in-company training curricula. However, the most important purpose of the day was to recognize the meaning of the BAD’s: “The creation of a network!” It is important to get to know and understand each other so we can achieve our goals and help each other. With a lot of new thoughts and information our second day came to an end.

On Wednesday we hit the road to go to the headquarter in Bremen. After our arrival we were shown around the departments and the warehouse by the apprentices of the last year. In addition we became a little introduction to the IT in combination with a telephone training. After we had a tasteful lunch at the Buhlmann’s Bremen (Restaurant/canteen), we drove to the camping site. The last day was all about teamwork, team formation and getting to know each other better. For this occasion the trainers also joined us. Together we were pitching up the tents. Afterwards we were having a barbecue. Besides we were visiting the nearby lake and were playing soccer. The dinner ended with a bonfire and a funny and musically evening.

After the tents were taken down on Thursday morning, we left the camping site and went to the Buhlmann’s Bremen to eat breakfast there. Then everyone returned back home.

In the end one can say, the BAD’s of 2015 were a huge success. We learned a lot, had a lot of fun but most important, we built a network so that we will never be by ourselves.

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Report on the BUHLMANN Apprentice Days by Antonino Carusotto, apprentice wholesale and export merchant, Mannheim (Germany)

The BUHLMANN Apprentice Days (BAD’s) took place in Bremen where Buhlmann not only has its roots but also its headquarter. My trip to Bremen began on the 3rd of August in 2015 with the train from the central station of Mannheim. As I was sitting in  the train, I already met another apprentice from Mannheim. At our arrival in the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel we were welcomed with a tasteful buffet.

All in all, we were twelve apprentices from Burghausen, Bremen, Duisburg, Mannheim and Cadolzburg. We were welcomed by the trainers of Bremen and Duisburg. Due to the nervous and tense atmosphere, we held a small introduction of ourselves and talked about the plans for the BAD’s. Being well-nourished, curious and a little nervous, we went to our youth hostel in Bremen. As we arrived, we got assigned to move into our rooms. The youth hostel provided us with a meeting room for the time of our stay where we introduced ourselves a little more once again. The one who introduced oneself held a ball of wool in the hand and also held on to the end of the thread after he threw the ball to the next person. After a short amount of time, we saw a little net out of threads of wool which was supposed to stand for the network we now belong to. After that, the Head of Human Resources of BUHLMANN joined us to tell us more about the interesting history of the family business. At the end of the day, we knew that BUHLMANN values community and that we became part of something bigger because community is one of the important parts in the philosophy of this company.

That’s how we got our first impressions and the feeling of “sitting in one boat together”. There is a lot to come in the future. We finished the day by going to the Bremer Schlachte together. The atmosphere was much more relaxed and I was looking forward to the next days.

The next day began with a breakfast in the cafeteria of the youth hostel in Bremen. That day we were discussing all theoretical aspects of the apprenticeship for example rights and obligations of apprentices and employees. The day came to an end at 4 pm with several group works regarding the structure of the company and the contents of training. We were spending our free time having a walk around the city.

On the third day we were leaving the youth hostel and went to the Buhlmann’s (Restaurant/Canteen) in Bremen to eat breakfast. Being well-nourished, we were shown around the company in Bremen. That’s how we got a small insight in all departments which we don’t have in our company for example the finance department or the Human Resources department. Afterwards we went to the conference room where we had a telephone training and an interesting course of etiquette. In the afternoon, the trainers of Burghausen and Mannheim arrived to camp with us. As we arrived at the camping site, we were pitching up our tents together. On this occasion, the good teamwork was the key factor because the less experienced campers were supported pitching the tents by the more experienced ones. At the barbecue, we were sharing experiences with each other and we became friends. The greatest time of the evening was the time after the dinner, when we were singing songs to the guitar. This was a nice end. Moreover, it was a new start into a life with a company, which truly values its employees. On the next morning, we were taking down the tents and went to the company to eat breakfast. Then we made our way home to Mannheim.

The BAD’s took away my fear and nervousness before starting my working life. I gained a lot of positive experiences and I am looking forward to continue my career with BUHLMANN.

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Report on training seminars by Sabrina Fuchs, apprentice wholesale and export merchant, Burghausen (Germany)

After our arrival at the BUHLMANN-PROJECTS-SOLUTIONS (bps) in Cadolzburg, we were welcomed by the managing director Frank Heller. After we had a short introduction of the bps fields of activity, we were shown around the offices and the production hall by the apprentices. We were able to watch the employees welding together pieces of pipes. Moreover, we got an overview of the fabrication possibilities of the bps like the manufacturing process of contouring Tees and other special components. In addition, the bps owns a calibrated annealing furnace

 for additional heat treatments. Throughout our visit, one of the special components got prepared in the oven. The size of the oven really impressed me.

After having a small snack, we switched from practice to theory. The theory began by playing the movie “Wie Stahl hergestellt wird” (“How steel is produced”) by “Sendung mit der Maus”. The Senior Manager Technical Services and the Education Manager provided us with technical information regarding our business. We started talking about steel and its production. We got to see several technics of producing steel and we were informed about the composition of steel. In this matter, we dealt with threaded pipes, which are also known as “Schweineeisen”.

After we had a short break, we were introduced to the topic of carbon and stainless steel pipes and their manufacture. The different manufacturing processes were really interesting. We also talked about alloy surcharges and their changes. To top-off the program, we overviewed pressure steel pipes in accordance to several standards.

At the end of the day, we moved into the next hotel and we were looking forward to have a delicious dinner together. Later on, we fell into bed, being really exhausted and full of expectation for the next day.

After we had breakfast, we went to the bps and started with the second part of the course containing the topic boiler tubes in accordance to EN and ASTM. We went through the different materials and standards of seamless and welded pipes. At the end, we were taking a test which all of us passed. Being in a good mood and equipped with new knowledge, we made our way home.

This way of education was new to BUHLMANN. Courses like this usually take place in Duisburg or Bremen for a few hours every once in a while. Especially for students from small branches, it is a great opportunity to attend these courses.

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My stay with BUHLMANN Spain S.L.U. by Yonca Angay, apprentice whole sale and export merchant, Bremen (Germany)

Spain – a country I’ve never been before

In the course of an internship which BUHLMANN enabled me I got to spend two weeks in the independent foreign subsidiary located in the Basque capital city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. The trip started on the 18th October of 2015 with the destination of the airport in Bilbao. There, I was picked up by a nice taxi driver who drove me to the hotel in Vitoria-Gasteiz which was half an hour away. As we were driving I was able to get a first impression on the beautiful and mountainous landscape of Northern Spain. The hotel was very modern and elegantly furnished. Therefore it was easy to make myself feel comfortable. To be fit for work on Monday, I decided to change plans so I postponed the planned sightseeing tour to one of the following days.

On Monday I was picked up by the managing director of BUHLMANN Spain S.L.U. to go to the office. I was friendly welcomed by the employees and shown around the modern and beautiful facility. In addition, I got introduced to the field of activities of the employees and the circumstances of the Spanish and Latin-American market. My duties included checking freight invoices and booking them into the system, preparing orders of our customers, creating delivery notes for completed order picking and creating article codes for big orders. The intensive work with Excel was new to me. All details, from putting in orders to invoicing are documented in an Excel chart. That way one can find all information of an order at first sight. The Spanish subsidiary has its own warehouse. However, it doesn’t have the same capacities like the warehouses in Germany. Therefore, most of the orders are drop shipments which are handled by the mother company in Germany.

In the office I was mostly talking in English, however I was able to make small talk in Spanish if the people were talking slow. Because I learned Spanish in school for two years, I was able to follow conversations in Spanish from time to time. Whether in my free time, when I went shopping or when I had to ask for the directions, there was always a reason to speak Spanish. Unfortunately, most of the citizens don’t understand English. In my opinion, Spanish is the most beautiful language in the world. That’s why I want to take a language course in Germany in the near future so I will understand everything on my next visit to Spain.

Besides my work, I was also able to get to know the life in Spain. On Thursdays the bars in Spain serve “Pintxopote”. Next to a drink one gets a small snack for example a small bowl of fries and eggs or bread rolls with ham and salmon. In Spain it is very common to let the day end by going out and having a drink with your colleagues or friends. Therefore, my colleague showed me the beautiful and historic city.

I already spent two months abroad in Ireland and now I was also able to get to know the culture of Spain. If one has the possibility, I can really suggest staying in another country for a longer period of time. It is one of the best things that can happen in one’s life. Nobody can take these experiences and memories away from you. I am thankful for making these experiences with the BUHLMANN GROUP. This was definitely not my last time visiting Spain.

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