Company | Career

Kim Karotki

New inter­na­tio­nal trai­nee programme

Inter­view with sales trai­nee Shi­yu Gu

Shi­yu Gu comes from Chi­na and is the first can­di­da­te of our inter­na­tio­nal trai­nee pro­gram­me. We tal­ked to her about why she app­lied for this pro­gram­me, tog­e­ther with the gene­ral impres­si­ons that she has gai­ned from working at various sites of Klasmann-Deilmann.

What were your rea­sons for app­ly­ing to take part in the Klasmann-Deilmann trai­nee programme?

Today peop­le want to eat food that is safe and healt­hy food. We are incre­a­singly con­cer­ned about what we eat. The effect that pol­lu­ti­on is having on agri­cul­tu­re is making it incre­a­singly dif­fi­cult now to satisfy this demand. Chi­na is a huge agri­cul­tu­ral coun­try that is facing serious envi­ron­men­tal pro­blems. A seri­es of food scan­dals are for­cing the pro­du­cers to have a chan­ge of heart. This also inclu­des the use of gro­wing media. More and more food pro­du­cers in Chi­na are chan­ging over from tra­di­tio­nal field cul­ti­va­ti­on to gro­wing crops in pots with substrates, becau­se substrates offer a solu­ti­on to this pro­blem. I think that the­re is gre­at poten­ti­al for substrates in Chi­na. Klasmann-Deilmann leads the world mar­ket in this branch, so that this was the first com­pa­ny I tur­ned to.

How did the app­li­ca­ti­on pro­cess go? Do you have any tips for other applicants?

I heard about the trai­nee pro­gram­me during the Care­er Day at Wagen­in­gen Uni­ver­si­ty. I sub­mit­ted an app­li­ca­ti­on strai­gh­ta­way and recei­ved a reply very quick­ly. First I had a Sky­pe inter­view with the Head of Human Resour­ces, and then a face-to-face inter­view with Nor­bert Siebels, who was Mana­ging Direc­tor of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group at the time. My advice is: I think the most important thing is for app­li­cants to be abso­lute­ly sure what they real­ly want, which branch, which job and so on.

What is the struc­tu­re of your trai­nee pro­gram­me like ‑ which sites have you come to know and what have been your impres­si­ons up to now?

In future I would like to work as a tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant for Klasmann-Deilmann Chi­na. This objec­ti­ve is also addres­sed by the pro­gram­me, which began for me at Klasmann-Deilmann Chi­na in the sum­mer. I spent the first two mon­ths in Shang­hai so that I could beco­me bet­ter acquain­ted with the Chi­ne­se com­pa­ny. I tra­vel­led a lot with the sales team. The team at Klasmann-Deilmann Chi­na is young and full of energy.

After this peri­od in Chi­na, I came to Ger­ma­ny. At com­pa­ny head­quar­ters in Gees­te, I learnt a gre­at deal from the tech­ni­cal con­sul­tants working in Advi­so­ry Ser­vices & Qua­li­ty Manage­ment. The Ger­man team is so expe­ri­en­ced, and also wil­ling to share their know-how with new workers.

For the third part of my pro­gram­me, I went to Klasmann-Deilmann Bene­lux in the Nether­lands. I had alrea­dy stu­di­ed at a uni­ver­si­ty in the Nether­lands so it was a bit like com­ing home. In Schie­dam the com­pa­ny has a pro­duc­tion fac­to­ry and a strong sales team. The Dut­ch are very suc­cess­ful in their branch. The team at Klasmann-Deilmann Bene­lux is high­ly inno­va­ti­ve, always wil­ling to try things out and open for some­thing new.

Klasmann-Deilmann Šilu­tė in Lit­hua­nia is one of the pure pro­duc­tion sites in the Group. While I was the­re, a lot of orders had come in from Asia so that the staff in the extrac­tion are­as and in pro­duc­tion were very busy. But the working atmo­s­phe­re is very rela­xed. It is qui­te obvious that the Lit­hua­ni­an col­leagues love working for Klasmann-Deilmann.

Why did you opt for a care­er in the hor­ti­cul­tu­ral industry?

I grew up in a fami­ly that just loves gar­de­ning. When I was at secon­da­ry school, my par­ents had the chan­ce to cul­ti­va­te their own gar­den. We had vege­ta­bles, bed­ding plants and fruit trees. I love gar­de­ning, which is why I deci­ded to stu­dy agriculture.

While stu­dy­ing for my Bachelor’s degree, I had ple­nty of oppor­tu­nities to attend inter­na­tio­nal exhi­bi­ti­ons and lec­tures. I was very impres­sed by agri­cul­tu­ral deve­lo­p­ments abroad. My pro­fes­sor sug­gested that I app­ly to do a Master’s degree at Wagen­in­gen Uni­ver­si­ty, which is one of the best uni­ver­si­ties for agri­cul­tu­re. This would give me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to fol­low what is hap­pe­ning out­side Chi­na. For­tu­n­a­te­ly, I was accep­ted by Wagen­in­gen Uni­ver­si­ty, so that I have lived in the Nether­lands for two years. This was my first expe­ri­ence of living abroad.

What were your cul­tu­ral impres­si­ons from stay­ing in dif­fe­rent countries?

I noti­ced two things in par­ti­cu­lar. I was very sur­pri­sed to rea­li­se that noti­ons about the size of a city dif­fer great­ly bet­ween Chi­na and Euro­pe. I come from a small city cal­led Huz­hou near Shang­hai. About four mil­li­on peop­le live in Huz­hou, which is more than in Ber­lin. On the other hand, Lin­gen, Schie­dam and Šilu­tė are also small cities, but their popu­la­ti­ons are just a few thousand people.

The way peop­le do their lunch break is also dif­fe­rent. In Šilu­tė, Schie­dam and Gees­te, col­leagues usual­ly bring their lunch with them ‑ and Gees­te now also has a can­te­en. The team in Shang­hai uses an app to order food that is deli­ve­r­ed to the office – that’s very practical.

What did you think of the IPM in Essen?

I had alrea­dy been to the IPM as a stu­dent. But this time I was the­re as a mem­ber of staff at Klasmann-Deilmann. Lots of visi­tors came to our stand. The­re were also col­leagues repre­sen­ting the various sub­si­dia­ries in the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. Alt­hough I’d alrea­dy been to the tra­de fair befo­re, I enjoy it every time becau­se you always find some­thing new and it is a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to obser­ve emer­ging trends in the hor­ti­cul­tu­re branch.

How do you see your future?

In the mean­ti­me I have met lots of col­leagues at various sites, and seen that Klasmann-Deilmann is like a big fami­ly. I’m real­ly loo­king for­ward to my future as a mem­ber of the Klasmann-Deilmann family.

Would you recom­mend our inter­na­tio­nal trai­nee pro­gram­me to other young people?

The pro­gram­me is a gre­at chan­ce to see and learn a lot. You meet super col­leagues who are always wil­ling to help and to share their know­ledge and expe­ri­ence. So don’t be afraid to go abroad and enjoy the programme!

Click here to read the inter­view with trai­nee Micha­el Hwang.