My name is Louisa Rektor, and I’m 22 years old. Since February 2019, I have been taking part in a dual apprenticeship at Hamburg Süd to become a shipping agent specializing in liner shipping, and I am now in the second year of my training.
Why did you opt for the dual vocational training at Hamburg Süd?
After graduating from high school, I first went abroad for a year to work as an au pair. There, I frequently saw Hamburg Süd containers. As a native of Hamburg, this always made me feel at home, and the company remained etched in my memory. Once I was back in Germany, I had to decide whether I wanted to start university or an apprenticeship. For me, the most important thing was that there was an international outlook so that I could go back abroad more easily afterwards and work there, too. Since a degree was not the focus of my attention, I concentrated on searching for an apprenticeship position, and Hamburg Süd was still fresh in my mind. On the website, I learned about the various apprenticeships on offer. Then I submitted an application and soon received an invitation to the selection procedures.
Has the programme lived up to your expectations? What do you especially like about it?
My expectations have been more than satisfied. At Hamburg Süd, you are offered in-depth, multi-faceted training in addition to many special extra elements, such as schoolings and lectures. I especially like that all my colleagues are very open, friendly, and eager to help. I also like the fact that our vocational school lessons are held in blocks, which allows me to fully concentrate on the lessons and exams.
Can you give us a few examples of what you’ve learned over the last year?
I most recently got my teeth into Hamburg Süd’s bills of lading. In container shipping, this is a very important document that enables the recipient of a container to have the container, or rather the goods, released at the port of destination. On top of that, I learned a lot about the structure of Hamburg Süd, its various geographical Areas, and the different departments and liner services. In the vocational school, some of the things we recently covered were the Port of Hamburg, the various shipping-related occupations, and the different vessel classes.
Has there been a moment or experience in which you went beyond what you thought you could do?
For me, it’s the small things in everyday life that count. Without making daily progress, no matter how small, there can be no major improvements. At Hamburg Süd, I have an opportunity to learn new things every day, to go beyond my previous limits and comfort zones, and to continuously develop. I like that a lot.
Do you have any tips for students who are interested in this kind of training, but might still be uncertain?
If you aren’t sure about whether you should study or do an apprenticeship, I personally recommend a dual apprenticeship first. You can always still study later. It’s a great experience to dive straight into working life, earn your own money, and notice how quickly you become more independent and self-reliant. Shipping is very varied and offers exciting opportunities to work abroad. If you like to speak English and are interested in business, politics, geography, and shipping, the apprenticeship to become a shipping agent is exactly the right thing for you.