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6/27/2019

“Support gave me confidence”

Dragana Petrovic (25) and Jana Cebulla (25) are the first two former Beiersdorf trainees to finish the scholarship program for young employees organized by the Training Department: They received bachelor’s degrees in business administration in the spring of 2019. Their former trainee director, Daniela Peeters-Bendix, just invited the young women to share their experiences with her. Together, the women looked back on a program that combines a college education with a position at the company. 

Daniela: Thanks for taking the time to meet with me! What are both of you now doing at Beiersdorf?

Dragana: I started my job as Junior Global Category Manager in Global Procurement Packaging Materials in February 2018 where I am overseeing the innovation projects for dispensing systems and mechanics. Before that, I worked as a data analyst in Supply Chain Planning. It was my first position after I completed the training program.

Jana: I have been working for more than a year now in international marketing as Associate Brand Manager and support our brands Labello and NIVEA Lip Care. Right after I finished the training program, I became a marketing assistant in GBU NIVEA Body Care.

Daniela: Great – then you took your next career steps even while you were still going to college. Did you know each other before starting college?

Jana: We were not in the same training class. We got to know each other for the first time in the summer of 2015 during an orientation day at the university.

Dragana: And then we went through college together. I think we were very well organized from the first day – also during the learning phases, weren’t we?

Jana: Definitely. We communicated well with each other and complemented each other. I began to write summaries for our exams…

Dragana: …and I got you to work on your term papers. We have become good friends.

Dragana Petrovic

Daniela: What else helped you meet the challenges posed by this dual work-study program besides the mutual support?

Jana: One important aspect for me was that my supervisors supported me from the very start of the program. They expressed their interest and asked about how things were going at college and were always willing to be a sparring partner for me. The flexible work schedule gave me a certain amount of freedom. As a result, I could spontaneously take some time off when I needed to study.

Dragana: That’s right! Before I started college, my supervisor and I discussed how this model would be an opportunity for me. He turned out to be my biggest booster. That gave me the confidence I needed to apply.

Daniela: After the training program, you had an opportunity to begin a full-time college education without the help of Beiersdorf…

Jana: I am a practically minded individual and like to work. This is why I decided to stay at Beiersdorf after I finished the training program. After nearly three and a half years, if you also count the training program, I naturally had a certain feeling of loyalty to the company. The dual work-study program was the perfect solution: I could keep on working at Beiersdorf and still continue my education externally.

Dragana: Even during the training program, I knew that I wanted to continue my education. Combing professional experience and theoretical knowledge was important to me. I did some research and found out about the dual program in which you work and attend college at the same time. Being able to remain at Beiersdorf and still continue my education was the optimal solution for me.

Jana Cebulla

Daniela: Would you also encourage other former trainees to take advantage of the dual work-study program?

Jana: I think every trainee should consider exactly what is right for him or her after finishing the training program. I personally can definitely recommend the dual program. Yes, it is a challenge to attend college and work at the same time. But it is doable! What do you think?

Dragana: I agree. You need a lot of discipline. But you have to seize the opportunity. I would like to encourage current trainees to think seriously about the dual work-study program. I will be glad to share my experiences with anyone.

The couple with a future: the dual work-study program

Each year, the Vocational Training Department presents three scholarships for dual work-study programs to former Beiersdorf trainees: one each for the area of chemistry, for employees with a technical-commercial background and for a commercial field. The company covers monthly student fees that extend up to a set level for the normal period of three and a half years that it takes to earn a degree. “We support young, high-performance individuals whom we have passionately fostered during their training programs,” says Daniela Peeters-Bendix, the Head of Training. “In the process, we strengthen the long-term bond to motivated colleagues who have the potential to assume further responsibilities.” The scholarship recipients will also have an opportunity to take their next career step even while participating in the dual program. In the process, the company further recognizes their potential and commitment. “Compared with a full-time college program, this is a clear benefit because the students do not have to wait to the very end,” Peeters-Bendix says.

One condition for a Beiersdorf scholarship is a long-term arrangement reached by both sides. Furthermore, potential candidates must have an open-ended employment contract in the company and one to two years of professional experience at following the training program. Employees interested in the scholarship program start the application process by writing a letter that outlines their reasons for applying. Recommendations by the management team of the individual applicant play a key role. The management team later also makes the ultimate decision.

“A dual work-study program pays off in a huge number of ways,” Daniela Peeters-Bendix says. “The students know the company. They can draw on and expand their networks – and the financing is secured. They company invests in employees whom it has already known for several years and can evaluate them as a result.” 

Martina Perez

About the editor: Martina Perez

Martina has been part of the Corporate Communications team for many years as a PR consultant and knows the media scene very well. And the journalists know Martina. She coordinates and answers media inquiries, supports filming projects, and she is our contact person for daily press reviews and continuous media monitoring. In addition, she is responsible for the conception and organization of selected press conferences, for example for the successful long-term cooperation project between NIVEA and DLRG.