Wheel loader standing in a sand and gravel plant

“Glocal” and digital: X.PLORE

18 months, 3 projects, lots of great colleagues and new impressions: This is how I would summarise my X.PLORE trainee programme in a nutshell. Time just rushed by – now I’m taking time for a look at the past months.

After receiving my master's degree in business administration, I didn’t know what to do next. What practical road was I to take? Well, I started off by going to the next job fair to see what was on offer. And there was a lot on offer!

The X.PLORE trainee programme at Heidelberg Materials was a definite standout: 18 months, various departments and the ability to carry out projects on my own – ideal for someone who wasn't ready to commit to a long-term position. The best thing is that the different stations are not predetermined. Participants have a choice and can pursue their own interests while learning new things.

Glocal building materials company

The fact that Heidelberg Materials is a building materials company was another attractive point. My family has its own sand and gravel business. From the age of six I was able to climb into the cab of a front-end loader. I feel very comfortable with the down-to-earth nature of the business. As a glocal company, Heidelberg Materials was just the right place for me as a globetrotter with regional roots!

In keeping with the name X.PLORE, the trainee programme started off with a period of exploration and discovery. In the first month, the trainees got to know each other and the business. During the Echt.Anders Weeks, we visited a cement plant, a concrete plant and a sand and gravel plant. The journey took us to Berlin, Bremen and Jessen in Saxony-Anhalt. The trainee programme also aims to help participants build up a network within the company – and the visits to the plants were the ideal way to get started. My heart sang at the first sight of a loader.

After the orientation month, I began work at my first station: 6 months in concrete sales at Heidelberger Beton in Germany. I found the work, close to the customer and the product, fascinating.

Me and the app go to America

My experience in the sales department was directly applicable at my second station – this time in digital form. As part of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), I was a member of the OnSite App project team. Customers can use the app to track concrete deliveries, making construction work more efficient. During the rollout in the USA, I even had the opportunity to support the project on site. Hearing a customer say that this is “just the app I’ve been waiting for” is a moment that makes you proud!

In between stations, we trainees and our mentors met up again and again to share our experiences and deliver feedback that will flow into the future development of X.PLORE. For the next class of trainees, the company plans to have 4 stations of 4 months each, so even more impressions can be gained.

We trainees also wanted to gain experiences outside day-to-day office life, in addition to the workshops in project management or change management we took part in. We knew that the employees of HeidelbergCement had been helping young people at the Paulusheim youth center follow their dreams for many years, and we wanted to support them in their efforts.

We came together with the children and teens of the center to paint the Paulusheim gym. The project was great fun for the kids and for us. At the same time, it raised the awareness of the trainees for the difficulties that less fortunate people can have.

Digital, digital, digital

For my last station, I am currently in the purchasing department. On the other side of the sales equation so to speak, and it is again a super interesting digital project! We are introducing a new global tool, and I am responsible for adding the final touches with the software vendor as well as testing. For me, this station is rounds off my X.PLORE trainee programme.

I'll be finished in six weeks, and I’m a bit sad that it is over. But I am also looking forward to the future: namely, I’ve been offered a position with DTO – so my glocal digital adventure continues.

Mara Mottl

X.PLORER Trainee

Mara Mottl was an X.PLORE trainee at Heidelberg Materials. A business administration graduate, she has building materials in her blood and was climbing into the cab of a loader by the age of 6.

Wheel loader standing in a sand and gravel plant

Front-end loader.

Three persons wearing safety gear and helmets standing in the opening of a rotary kiln

At the open rotary kiln.

Four people stand in front of a painted wall, three of them have brushes in their hands

painting project in Paulusheim.