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When Felicitas Hüther was doing her traineeship as a tailor seamstress, the sewing of fancy evening dresses and bridal gowns was lacking. She wanted to make up for this by doing an internship abroad, with the fashion metropolis of London being her preferred location.

Trainees are going abroad for internships: nexnet is also supporting internships abroad

|   Pressemitteilung

When Felicitas Hüther was doing her traineeship as a tailor seamstress, the sewing of fancy evening dresses and bridal gowns was lacking. She wanted to make up for this by doing an internship abroad, with the fashion metropolis of London being her preferred location.

And it turned out that the international mobility consultation of the Berlin Chamber of commerce really could fulfil her wish. A small workshop in the London district of Hackney – once run down, now a hip area – signalled its interest in the German trainee, who at the time was in her second year of professional training.

During her traineeship as a seamstress, Felicitas Hüther was the first in the business to complete an internship abroad. (Photo: Sven Lambert)

"I wrote a cover letter and sent my CV – in English, of course – and got a letter of acceptance very quickly," says the 22 year-old. She then successfully applied for a grant in the context of the Erasmus support programme offered by the EU. "This enabled me to cover the costs of the accommodation and the flight." The money was only transferred just before the beginning of her internship, however. In some circumstances, then, when rent or a flight first has to be paid, the costs have to be covered in advance. Six months' planning time, should be expected says Felicitas Hüther.

Accommodation found through Airbnb

On arriving in London, she found her feet quickly. "I found accommodation near the workshop through Airbnb," she recounts. Using her smartphone for navigation meant that orienting herself in the as yet unfamiliar city was not a problem. And she was lucky with her internship: "I had found a great designer who had just received an order for bridal gowns." From the very start, Hüther was involved in every step of the production process.

The fact that she had no experience with bridal gowns was not a problem at all. "It was simply a matter of: 'Just do it'. And there I was already, cutting a bridal gown," says Felicitas Hüther. She is still excited today about the opportunities that London had to offer her. She learned how to work with chiffon and satin and was allowed to choose what to do for her internship project: a corsage. "Cloth was ordered especially for me for this. Whenever things weren't too busy I could work on it – and I was able to take the finished work home with me:"

First trainee in her business abroad

Felicitas Hüther was the first trainee in her business to go abroad for a three-week internship. Was it difficult to get them to agree to your idea? "No, my boss was very open-minded."

The boss is Gabriele Klein, a bespoke tailor, qualified fashion designer and since 2001 the head of her own workshop in Berlin, gmklein. "I find that when someone has the courage and dedication to go to a foreign country and work in an unfamiliar business you simply just have to say yes," says the 53 year-old. In the meantime two further trainees of hers have been given the OK for an internship abroad. Joachim Soltmann, a third-generation master confectioner and Guild Master of the Confectioner's Guild in Berlin has already sent 15 trainees abroad. The fact that the trainees are away from the business during the internship doesn't bother the owner of the LebensArt Cafés. "I get back better trainees back, so to speak." The attitude towards the occupation changes, the trainees regard their occupation with greater seriousness and also with more composure, as they are representing, and sometimes even defending, their profession abroad. "They see the differences and often come back with the thought, hey it's not actually that bad back home," says the 58 year-old, laughing.

Communication is not a problem for artisans

In the autumn internships will be available for the next trainees of the LebensArt Café. "The prospective specialist sales staff in the artisanal food industry specializing in confectionary go to German-speaking countries abroad in order to avoid language barriers," explains Soltmann."The confectioner trainees go to France." In the productive trade, foreign languages are not a problem. "The trainees just look on and imitate what they see." In sales it's a different story: in this area, active communication is required. Trainees of the company RestaurierungsWerkstätten Berlin even had an interpreter at their side during their internship abroad. Master carpenter Matthias Vondung cooperates with the Franco-German Youth Office (DFJW) for the foreign exchange. His trainees go to the Château Chinon in Burgundy; in return, French trainees from there gain insight into the German cabinet maker's trade.

Exchange with French trainees

"In the Château Chinon the trainees learn special techniques like carving, woodturning or inlaid work, things which in this form don't come up in our training system," declares Vondung, who is also a restorer with a PhD in art history. The most recent group of French trainees for their part worked on the restoration of the so-called Grimm Cabinet from the eighteenth century in the State Library. "In the case of demanding projects of this kind an interpreter simply makes sense."

Linus Thomaschki was in France as a trainee cabinet maker (Photo: private)

Linus Thomaschki, a third-year trainee cabinet maker was attracted precisely by the linguistic challenge. "I want to see the world. And the internship was a good opportunity to test how I would cope without any great language skills," said the 21 year-old.

He coped well. When the interpreter was not exactly ready to hand, communication was through "hands, feet and anything that was nearby:" This boosted his confidence and confirmed that he was on the right track with his plans. "After my training I want to go on the road as a journeyman for two or three years."

English improved, experience gained

Denis Stephan also had hardly any communication problems. The prospective qualified office manager returned from a four-week internship in Dublin at the end of April. "My English is much better now," says the 29 year-old. At the start he still really had to think a lot about the correct grammar, but soon noticed: "What matters is making yourself understood, not speaking perfect English." Stephan is in the second year of his traineeship at the Berlin billing services provider nexnet. The internship abroad was part of an additional qualification in European business administration organized by the vocational school the Oberstufenzentrum (OSZ) Bürowirtschaft 1.

International training for Europe traders

The additional qualification involves, among other things, international marketing, SAP skills, and business English, he says: "That's a good supplement to my training because nexnet is currently establishing the international business." And thus his internship experience has come just at the right time for his employer.



Denis Stephan was in Dublin as a guest trainee (Photo: Michael Kelmer)

For the organization and financing of the internship abroad, Denis Stephan had two options. One was as a so-called free-mover, where the trainee organizes the stay abroad as much as possible himself in the context of a budget allocated to him. "The financing takes place through Erasmus + funds that we were granted as a school for the project," explains Kristina Gaude-Quandt of the OSZ Bürowirtschaft. "All-round carefree package" for abroad

The school is about to establish its own company data base and supports the free-movers where possible in the search for suitable businesses. Gaude-Quant calls the second option the "all-round carefree package" in the context of the mobility project GoEurope! From the placement of the internship business to accommodation with half board to transport and an insurance package, everything is arranged here. Denis Stephan chose the second option, primarily to save time. His training company assumed a large part of the costs.

Was the internship worth it? "Definitely," says Stephan. "The insight into the processes and structures of an Irish company were particularly interesting." His internship company, The School Tour Company, organizes group trips for school pupils and is doing good business, he recounts. "Above all, I learned how to approach work in a structured way. Thanks to the good order situation, it felt like there were always five tasks that basically should already have been done yesterday." Even in stressful times, he found the work atmosphere to be open and relaxed. "Now and then a little steam was let off and then everything was ok again after that." He also learned to appreciate the black humour of the Irish. "I like this way of thinking and of coping with everyday life," he says. "I probably would have become a really good Irishman:"

Training at nexnet

Anyone who wants to get to know nexnet as a training company will have the opportunity to do so at the Vocatium in the Arena Berlin on 14 and 15 June 2017. More information on the topic of training at nexnet can be found on the Internet at

Source: Berliner Morgenpost of 03/06/2017 | The original article