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Getting off to a good start

For a year and a half, Koelnmesse will be the professional home of Can Atinc (IT), Bernadette Korbach (Corporate Communications), Katleen Wahnschaffe (Human Resources and Law) and Philip Scheffler (Sales). All four colleagues are starting off their careers as trainees and interns at Koelnmesse. Here, however, they are far more than mere "assistants" − instead, they have assumed responsibility for their own tasks at an early stage. "I was involved in the project work from day one. My colleagues showed and explained a lot to me so that I was able to actively work on the project and help shape it," says Bernadette Korbach, recalling the start of her work in Corporate Communications. She is primarily involved in internal communication and social media. The internal Wiki Konrad and Corporate TV are two projects she manages herself, while also maintaining Koelnmesse's social media channels and providing support for the employee magazine and press events. "I was given many tasks and responsibilities early on. This really helped me to develop a structured and independent way of working," says Philip Scheffler, describing his initial period as a trainee in Sales. His current responsibilities in trade fair management include exhibitor support and the acquisition of new exhibitors. "At imm cologne 2018, for example, I organized the Designers Market in Hall 1 together with a cooperation partner. For INTERMOT Cologne 2018, I was mainly responsible for the electromobility segment and acquired exhibitors for it," explains the trainee.

Working across borders

In contrast to the event-specific work in Sales, Katleen Wahnschaffe's traineeship, which focuses on Human Resources, is more strongly characterized by tasks that span more than one trade fair. "For example, I support the entire recruiting process for future trainees," she explains. This includes the announcement of vacant training positions, the selection of applications, participation in job interviews and the evaluation of recruitment tests. "Before my traineeship, I worked in a small start-up. That's why I find it all the more exciting to get to know the perspective of a larger company now. Here, I am involved in everything from recruiting to personnel development and therefore receiving all-round training," says the Human Resources trainee.

Can Atinc, a trainee with a focus on IT, is interested in the look beyond the horizon provided to him by Koelnmesse as an international trade fair organizer: "It takes time to become familiar with the structure and working methods of such a company with its existing technical systems. My main focus is on application and process-oriented issues, such as customer service. Various software solutions are required here to create and maintain customer master data or to generate the final invoice. IT is responsible for managing these systems, maintaining them regularly and adapting them in line with requirements." His studies, half of which consisted of business administration and half of electrical engineering, enabled him to establish a particularly good link between requirements and technical solutions. "This is crucial in process and IT requirements management," he says. "The advantage of our trainee program is that a trainee passes through several specialist areas and is thus provided with good insight into Koelnmesse and the specific processes over a period of 18 months". "Additionally, the trainees build up a network that will bring them great advantages later on," explains Eva Ambrosius, Human Resources Development Officer. Which and how many specialist areas each trainee passes through is always decided based on the relevance for their professional development as well as personal preferences. Following the traineeship, all four colleagues could imagine staying at Koelnmesse. "What makes my work so exciting is the variety I have at Koelnmesse," stresses Katleen Wahnschaffe. Despite the different contents of their work, the career starters have one thing in common: "An open approach to customers and colleagues opens many doors. That's how we quickly get into everyday working life," explains Bernadette Korbach. Philip Scheffler adds: "We are getting to know the company as a whole. In this way, we are building up a network of different departments that can be used over and over again." Over the past ten years alone, Koelnmesse has trained a total of 41 trainees and interns within the company. 26 of them, or almost two-thirds, are still working for the company.