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Graduates talk about their experiences at Festo 

Testimonials by entry-level newcomers at Festo

You’ve taken another important step by completing your degree or vocational training. Congratulations! You’ve laid the foundations for your career, and now you can start moving the world with your ideas. Our world of work. The testimonials of a few employees reveal exactly how that might look.

Lena Hägele: Control Systems Digital Pneumatics

Research engineer Lena Hägele (right): after a scholarship, she joined the company directly
Research engineer Lena Hägele (right): after a scholarship, she joined the company directly

Lena Hägele received her master’s degree in engineering cybernetics from the University of Stuttgart. Since early 2016 she has worked in Festo’s research department. Her work involves regulating pneumatic drives. Thanks to a scholarship from Festo, which was tied in with a traineeship position in process automation, she was able to familiarise herself with operating sequences and make valuable contacts beforehand.

A working student placement with practical relevance to one’s degree course

‘The big advantage of my traineeship was that it went perfectly with my degree. My main responsibilities included the MATLAB programming for a graphic user interface for optimising specific system parameters. This task was very challenging and exciting, and covered the exact area that I had been learning about at university. I was particularly impressed by the way in which the team worked well together. Although the fact that I was a student meant that I was only there occasionally, I was made to feel completely one of the team.

The scholarship mentoring scheme is worth its weight in gold

Like every scholarship holder, I had my own mentor. It wasn’t that long since my mentor had done her doctorate, so she was very good at empathising with my situation as a university student. We’ve formed a really good friendship. What’s more, she also studied engineering cybernetics and was able to support me with help and advice. I’m still in contact with her and can always rely on her for advice.

As a scholarship holder, I was part of the trainee retention programme “Stay Inspired”. This was a fantastic opportunity to educate myself further, especially in areas that weren’t really covered at university, such as conflict management or assessment centre training. I’ll be able to benefit from this additional training in my everyday work, too.

A stroke of luck, with great benefits and prospects for the future

I had a lot of advanced training opportunities due to my scholarship, and I gained valuable insights into practical work in my field. I had very dedicated support, not to mention financial support, too. During my master’s degree I was also involved with Festo through a collaborative project with the University of Stuttgart. Once this came to an end in 2015 I did a three-month traineeship in process automation to gain further experience, before officially starting my career at Festo in 2016.

Entering the company directly was a long-held aim of mine. I love my new area of work and the exciting projects that come up in research. At the same time, I’d like to continue to develop and learn new things, and that’s bound to happen given the support provided by my experienced colleagues.’

Susanne Krichel: Product and Application Trends

Susanne Krichel: Always looking towards the technology of the future
Susanne Krichel: Always looking towards the technology of the future

After studying to become an information systems assistant through an integrated course, Susanne Krichel decided to do a degree in engineering cybernetics at the University of Stuttgart. She has since graduated and has started working as a research engineer at Festo. After two exciting years working in the Energy Efficiency section, in mid-2014 she switched to Portfolio Management, where she is involved with the futuristic field of ‘SupraMotion’ (superconductivitiy in automation technology).

Innovation works wonders, both inside and out

‘I’ve always been enthused by the exciting work at Festo. It covers a vast range of topics, and I am given a lot of scope in my everyday work. Within the given timeframe, I always have the opportunity to look into and work on the topics that interest me. I also come into contact with a wide range of different areas and have plenty of opportunities for advanced training. You can almost feel the strength of the company’s talent for innovation, and it’s palpable from the inside, too.

At the moment my work involves checking innovations for their market readiness and potential at an early stage. This is done in close contact with the Pre-Development, Marketing and Sales teams and the customers themselves. What makes all of this particularly appealing is that I am working in an area that is still in its infancy – that’s both exciting and challenging at the same time. The people in my team have a wide range of skills. I love the open and friendly environment that we foster here.

A great mix of young and experienced colleagues

Of course, as a woman in a typically male-dominated environment you need to prove yourself at the beginning, but my colleagues are open and honest, and it’s really fun working with them. I enjoy working in mixed teams. The mix of young and more senior colleagues also makes collaborative work more interesting.

While some bring a fresh sense of vigour, motivation and new ideas to their career, others contribute many years of experience and a certain calmness. In this way, everyone – men and women, young and old – contribute different insights and ways of thinking, allowing us to balance one another out. This helps us to see projects from different angles and to find the best solution together.’

Silvia Rummel: Process and Technology Development

The link between development and the start of production: Silvia Rummel (right)
The link between development and the start of production: Silvia Rummel (right)

Silvia Rummel studied technology management with a focus on design technology at the University of Stuttgart. While she was studying, she was also able to gain practical experience and make some initial contacts at Festo. She then wrote her thesis as part of her funded project. She subsequently received a PhD on ‘Assessment-based capability testing of technological concepts in the development of technology’.

Practical insight in industry

‘During my degree I realised that I wanted to work in the industry. After I graduated, I got a chance to do my PhD with Festo. The practical slant was vital for me. Over this period I worked in the Research department as a technology management specialist.

Since then, I have received my PhD and am working in the area of Process and Technology Development, where I can best apply what I know about the production environment. I deal with the very latest processes and technology on a daily basis at the plant. In this respect, process development is the link between development projects and production start-up. There is an international context to most of my projects. Collaboration with our international plants is multifaceted in nature, both in terms of content and in the personal contact with our colleagues worldwide.

On an equal footing with colleagues

Due to my work I have fascinating insights into the whole of the company, and have a range of responsibilities and plenty of scope for my own tasks and decisions. At the same time, Festo offers me lots of opportunities to further develop, both professionally and personally. I work a lot with male colleagues. They tend to approach work in a very honest and straightforward way, which I really appreciate. I have never found myself not being taken seriously in this male-dominated profession; quite the opposite, in fact: I make my contribution, and I’m respected for it.

Effective cooperation

There’s no need for sharp-elbow tactics at Festo. We rely on cooperation within our team and between the different departments. From the very outset I’ve felt as though I’m part of a big family at Festo, and I’m proud of working here. I can’t say exactly where my career path may lead me in future, but I can see plenty of opportunities ahead at Festo. Perhaps abroad, too – who knows?’