Woman and man walking through a building, the woman carrying a laptop, the man carrying a bicycle bag and a bicycle helmet in his arms.

Interview about the X.PLORE trainee programme

Hello Jonas, thank you for taking the time today to tell us about your X.PLORE trainee programme and your journey afterwards. To kick things off, why did you decide on a trainee programme at Heidelberg Materials?

With pleasure! During my studies, I realised that I definitely wanted to do a trainee programme and get to know different areas. The concept of Heidelberg Materials' X.PLORE programme convinced me right from the start. After taking part in the very successful and well-organised assessment centre, I had a good feeling about Heidelberg Materials.

And how did your trainee programme work exactly?

Together with five other trainees, I was part of the first cohort of the newly introduced X.PLORE programme in 2017. For us, the programme consisted of three project treks instead of four, as is the case today. We started with an exciting onboarding and training in Heidelberg, followed by the Echt.Anders weeks, in which we were able to get to know the operational units of the company. After that, I started my first project.

In the individual Treks, you have the opportunity to take on a project independently. Where did you complete your three treks?

During my first trek, I was responsible for the market launch of a CRM software in the ready-mixed concrete sector at Heidelberger Beton. For this, I was on the road in all regions of Germany and carried out trainings and user surveys. This proximity to ready-mixed concrete has also helped me a lot in the following trek. I then moved to the new DTO, the Digital Transformation Office, where I helped develop and launch our global OnSite app for customers on the construction site. Finally, in the last trek, I was able to expand and practically apply my knowledge from my Bachelor's degree at Group Energy Purchasing. It is impressive and exciting how the large amounts of energy needed for Heidelberg Materials are secured. This is a crucial topic at the moment.

To what extent did the trainee programme help you, and what was your next step at Heidelberg Materials after completing the programme?

Through the experience I gained in the various treks, it became clear to me that I would like to start my subsequent job in the digitalisation area at Heidelberg Materials. That's how I ended up choosing the position of Digital Transformation Manager.

With HDigital, we are driving digitalisation forward at Heidelberg Materials and in the industrial sector. How would you describe the way of working there?

It's definitely agile and varied work, we always have to adapt to new challenges. Regular feedback is one of the most important indicators in the process to find out whether the digital products and solutions are right for the respective customers and their goals. Digital transformation in particular is not just about demonstrating expertise; rather, pragmatism is often required to drive the transformation forward iteratively. Of course, experience and knowledge are equally important. A good mix of both is, I think, the key to success and the X.PLORE programme helps you along the way.

How would you describe your X.PLORE programme, and what would you give to future X.PLORE trainees?

I am very happy with what I have learned through the X.PLORE programme as well as through my positions afterwards, be it professionally or as a person. The programme definitely gave me the chance to expand my network and improve my knowledge through various trainings. During the treks, I not only learned a lot about the subject matter, but I also learned a lot about the way my colleagues and bosses work. Solution- and goal-oriented action is an important success factor at Heidelberg Materials. Use the time to learn from the experiences of your colleagues and don't be afraid to challenge issues and generally ask a lot of questions, especially as a trainee. Otherwise, all I can say is: stay curious and open to new topics for a steep learning curve and a successful time.